Those of you lucky enough to have visited Art Basel aready will have seen (and doubtless marvelled at) Herzog & de Meuron’s Schaulager Satellite temporary pavilion. Maybe you thought the story ended there. Instead, the pavilion seems to have played a role in the inspiration and execution of their plans for a children’s hospital in Zurich which has just won the unanimous vote of the hospital board and will be built in 2018.
The structure takes the form of a 3-storey building arranged around a series of courtyards "like a small, introspective town" according to the architects. In-patients, out-patients and their relatives can move around as freely as possible between the different treatment areas. The 3-storey reflects the desire to create a child-friendly building, reminiscent in both scale and materiality of pavilion-style structures, and differing from the usual hospital stereotype. Architecture and nature are interwoven with the interior courtyards opening up intermittently to the outside, allowing daylight into the low, deep building.
Each of the three floors has a dedicated function, reflected in the layout of the rooms, and designed to provide maximum flexibility. Examination, treatment rooms and laboratories are located on the ground floor, as are the therapeutic facilities and the restaurant, while the doctors’ offices are situated on the first floor, with the wards on the top floor. Herzog & de Meuron say that overlaying these three “ideal geometries creates spatial variety and orientation." Wood is the predominant material of the facades and interiors, creating a more domestic atmosphere for children, their parents and hospital staff. The use of wood also echoes the rural surroundings of the picturesque surrounding Lengg district. If you admire the work of Herzog & de Meuron we have some amazing architecture books in the coming months including Understanding Architecture, SANAA and Concrete. The good news is they're already available for pre-order and if you join Phaidon club you'll get them first and they'll give you points towards your next purchase. And don't forget, we're interested in hearing your thoughts on Herzog & de Meuron's recent work below.