Conceived as an object in the landscape, AZ Sint-Maarten is a human-scale hospital that radiates simplicity and serenity - a solid building surrounded by green space and enveloped by delicate brise soleil elements.
Sophisticated technology, design anchored in sustainability, competitive budgeting and patient-centered design features were woven together to create this unique environment.
The designers began by anchoring the project in the green space surrounding the site. The result was optimal integration into the landscape, with a compact, human-scale design. In addition, a waving brise soleil solar protection reduces heat gain within the building by deflecting sunlight, while simultaneously adding a playful, delicate element - a second skin, protecting patients and personnel.
In close consultation with the hospital, much attention was paid to patient comfort in the form of privacy considerations, ergonomics, and environment and safety features. By including a multitude of glass surfaces, patients have nearly continuous visual contact with the world outside. To achieve this, the architects specified windows and joinery that comply with the highest performance and thermal insulation criteria as set out by Belgian standards.
CS 77-HI windows from Reynaers Aluminium complied perfectly with this requirement, while also literally creating a window to nature and providing the building with plenty of natural light.
Further optimising the lower energy needs of the building, a brise soleil was applied to a number of facades to form a sunscreen solution.
VK Architects & Engineers designed this unique solution using curved lamellas in a wave pattern. The inclination and form was studied by VK Architects & Engineers to achieve a highly functional sun shield. The design process included the production of a building simulation model to monitor the thermal comfort in patient rooms.
In addition to optimal performance, the design of the brise soleil lends a unique identity to the building, while still affording patients views of the surrounding landscape from their beds.
Moving from design to production of the brise soleil, the contractor and Reynaers Aluminium came up with a technical proposition by tailoring the company's existing BS 100 system to the design needs. This solution consists of no less than 63,000m of profiles, the delicate and functional 'skin' adapting to the facade orientation.
For example, the lower position of the sun in the west and east requires smaller distances between the brise soleil slats than the higher position of the sun in the south. Much attention was also paid to the transition from public to semipublic and private spaces by playing with degrees of brightness
Solid yet delicate, compact and highly functional in design yet expansive in feeling, AZ Sint-Maarten is truly an exceptional example of a healing environment that nurtures and supports patients, families and those who work within the healthcare environment.