Leoben Regional Hospital
Planning a hospital is, in itself, one of the more complex architectural tasks - even more so when it comes to the modification and expansion of an existing hospital complex that has to remain operational throughout. In the case of the Leoben Regional Hospital, Ernst Giselbrecht was confronted with a clearly ageing, contorted conglomerate of buildings which had to be refurbished and expanded within a very tight space. The alternative would have been to move the hospital to the outskirts; from an urban development perspective, this would have been contrary to the long-term development of the city of Leoben.
The connecting centrepiece of the design is a thoroughfare which extends from a new entrance hall that faces the town, to the slopes of the Annaberg mountain which borders the site. Along this new access route are existing and new blocks of buildings and services with public functions, such as a cafeteria with a terrace. At the rear of the thoroughfare is a second entrance from an open courtyard and underground car park, above which the emergency services route runs. Central elevators take you to the roof terrace on the fourth floor. This continues the axis and provides access to the slope of the Annaberg via a bridge. This was designed by landscape architects from the koala agency to be varied and wheelchair accessible, and provides a relaxing open space for patients, visitors and staff. In addition, courtyards - freed up between existing buildings and redesigned - will also provide more greenery and an open atmosphere.
The most important new structure is the functional wing with several outpatient clinics on the ground floor and nine operating theatres on the first floor.
The chapel, made of purple Schladming Loden fabric and mounted like a yurt in a two-and-a-half-storey room with a wooden floor, represents a sensory escape from the inevitably sterile hospital environment.
The existing buildings of up to ten storeys are internally and externally redesigned, restructured and in some cases expanded. The external appearance features new windows with superimposed folding shutters, and the uniformly white colouring gives the existing buildings a lighter appearance so as not to look too imposing to people experiencing difficult times. Inside, this principle continues on through the use of natural daylight and associative guiding colours which help untangle and organise the paths.
The children’s intensive care unit is particularly colourful and has been designed with graphic and haptic elements in collaboration with the look!design graphic designers.
The most recently completed part is the radiotherapy unit which occupies a prominent position directly at the entrance and was completed in 2017. The building reacts to the exposed position with a second shell of perforated white aluminium, which, lifted from the ground and absorbing the momentum from the road, moves dynamically around the building that is partly buried in the terrain. Inside, the architecture revolves around the patients to alleviate the discomfort of undergoing radiotherapy. The path to the therapy room, which is shielded by 1.5-metre-thick concrete walls, is flooded with daylight and offers a view of a soothing green courtyard from the preparation room. In the wards of the Leoben Regional Hospital, Giselbrecht emphasises the features of human-friendly design that are not always the highest priority in healthcare architecture in a variety of ways.
1951 Born in Dornbirn, Vorarlberg, Austria
1972-1979 Studied architecture at Graz Technical University
Since 1985 Office in Graz and Bregenz, Austria
2004 Founding of Ernst Giselbrecht + Partner Architektur ZT GmbH
1995-2000 Diploma examining committee, Technical University Graz, Austria
1996 Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA and Waterloo, Canada
1996 Lecture and design seminar at the International Summerschool Florence, Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
2000 Lecture and seminar at University Federico II, Naples, Italy
1980-1990 Head of architecture in the Forum Stadtpark Graz
1984 Manager of the exhibition "13 Standpunkte Grazer Schule"
1990-1999 Member of the Board of the House of Architecture Graz
1999-2001 President of the House of Architecture Graz
2001 Member of the UIA jury competition, Ostrava
2002-2007 Head of the main Board of the House of Architecture Graz
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