The hospital has been designed as a contemporary public space, with different levels of permeability and an increasing level of privacy. The large square with the portico overlooking the sea, located to the north-west, welcomes the visitors coming from the drop-off point and the public car parks and accompanies them into the main foyer of the facility. From here, a large gallery follows the circular shape of the building, guiding visitors towards the different units located on the same level and the staircases and lifts leading to the inpatient floors. Large seating and waiting areas have been provided at these important vertical circulation junctions.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Algiers
The project integrates into the context by enhancing the local geomorphologic peculiarities: the proximity to the coast, which allows to enjoy the benefits of the sea; the presence, in the area, of a quarry, which offered the opportunity to fill the "wound" in the landscape through the creation of underground spaces and to screen, with above-ground volumes, the noise coming from the ring road.
The gradient of the land sloping down towards the sea has been skilfully used to limit the impact of the building on the existing elevation. At the same time, the placement of the parking spaces on the contour lines makes them less conspicuous and avoids the creation of heat islands thanks to the planting of local trees and shrubs. The main entrance is identified by the large open space – shaded by the roof over the hall and fountains – and faces the landscape as well as sea breezes in the summer and powerful cold winds in the winter.
The access to the emergency room – which is strictly separated from the public entrance – is located at the top of the slope, while the network of the logistical pathways (dirty and clean) is located mainly underground and is connected to the functional areas on the various levels thanks to special lifts. The two fundamental areas which characterise the patient care pathway are the hospitalisation tower and the diagnosis and therapy area.
Following the great tradition of Islamic culture, the physical and visual integration between the natural element and the areas for patients and visitors represents a fundamental principle of the project. Such integration is not just a means to achieve high aesthetic quality, but a key element to offer a positive therapeutic experience.
The circular roof completely covers the hospitalisation tower to the south of the structure, encloses the operating block and, degrading northwards, it hides the technical system components from view. At the same time, it emphasises the curved, compact geometry of the building, thus strongly characterising its image.