Dignity Health, a California-based hospital management company, tasked HKS with designing a hospital in the fast-growing Chinese city of Hefei that would provide the quality of care of a world-class medical center while reflecting Chinese cultural expectations. The hospital — developed by Chinese LCD panel-maker BOE Technology Group — would have to be built on a relatively small site and handle the influx of more than 1,000 patients at once.
The Design Solution
A team of designers from eight HKS offices delivered an elegant, compact design: an 180,000 square meter (1,937,500 square foot) modern hospital on 8.9 hectares (22 acres). It features surface and underground parking, 13- and 16-story inpatient towers with a total of 1,000 beds, and centers of excellence focused on cardiovascular medicine, oncology, orthopedics and neurology/neurosurgery.
An airy and bright medical mall lit by skylights connects all patients to the inpatient towers and outpatient clinics so they can easily navigate to their desired location. HKS designed the hospital so that the medical mall would have entrances at each of the four cardinal points to avoid crowding. The façade at the base of the hospital features warm-colored stone to project a welcoming atmosphere.
HKS’ medical planners considered the nuances of Chinese culture. Because patients usually bring company to their appointments, exam rooms were designed to accommodate one or two of the patient’s relatives or friends. In the emergency department, a large space was reserved for intravenous medicine infusion, which many patients prefer rather than picking up medicine at a pharmacy.
The high-tech hospital creates connections with nature to enhance the sense of a healing environment. The inpatient towers were oriented to maximize exposure to sunlight and views to a lake on the north side and a rooftop garden on the south side.
The Design Impact
BOE Hefei Digital Hospital — with its striking exterior and state-of-the-art facilities — responds to the expectations of Chinese patients but would not look out of place in any major U.S. city. Its spacious settings help meet a need for medical facilities in Hefei, a burgeoning city with a population of 7.8 million. Though it’s not uncommon for Chinese hospitals to have wards with four beds or more in a single room, the rooms at BOE Hefei Digital Hospital range from one to three beds.
- 180,000 square meters (2 million square feet)
- 13- and 16-story inpatient towers
- Two medical office buildings
- Medical mall
- 1,000 beds
- Four centers in cardiovascular medicine, oncology, orthopedics and neurology
- Surface and underground parking
- Rooftop garden