Zaans Medical Centre, Zaandam

Designed by: Mecanoo and Silo
For client: Zaans Medical Centre, Zaandam; Vitaal ZorgVast, Bunnik Floor area: 38500.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: Healthcare Centre of the Year

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© Machteld Schoep

A special spiral slide offers children an adventurous way to travel between levels; it makes them forget they are in a hospital

About the Project

Zaans Medical Centre is the first lean hospital in the Netherlands. It is an efficient and compact building in which professional healthcare and a personal approach strengthen each other. Architecture, urbanism, landscape and interior are brought together in a coherent design. Clear routing, an abundance of daylight, and positive distractions contribute to an environment that does not feel like a hospital, but rather a place that promotes wellbeing.

The patient experience played a crucial role in the design process. Positive distractions can reduce the stress of a hospital visit and facilitate recovery. The spacious multi-storey lobby has the feel of a welcoming public building. Semi-circular voids and skylights, the use of wood, bright colours, good acoustics and unobstructed views of the surroundings provide a pleasant atmosphere. All hospital wards can be accessed from an internal street with many sheltered waiting areas. At either end of the street is a landscaped courtyard. More than 3,500 square metres of hand-drawn illustrations on walls, glazed partitions, and lifts refer to the industrial heritage of the Zaan region. A special spiral slide offers children an adventurous way to travel between levels.

What’s unique about it

The architecture of the ZMC is friendly, accessible, and concentrated on a human scale. Matching this positioning, the integrated plan seeks to enrich the experience of the spatial environment. Despite the increased levels of stress and emotion experienced by many hospital visitors, there are few hospitals who have paid attention to positive distraction for their guests. 

Subtle interventions in the building provide added value. Such interventions which are now visible throughout the building and are great way to tell a story. In general, a hospital is a destination one would rather avoid. Acknowledging this, the ZMC seeks a personal relationship with the people from the region. The spatial design supports this ambition within healthcare environments in a distinctive way. 

The building is BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certified.

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© Thijs Wolzak

A total of 3,500 square metres of illustrations provide positive distraction; the large illustration in the street presents a human body landscape built with a rich selection of elements and stories from the industrial heritage of the Zaan region.

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© Thijs Wolzak

Details from the street, showing the size and impact of hand-drawn illustrations

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© Machteld Schoep

Two green patios on either side of the street draw daylight deep into the building

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© Silo Agency

The street in perspective, showing contents of the human landscape. The shipbuilding industry is represented by the rich timberworks.

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© Thijs Wolzak / Sio Agency

For the children’s department an animal world was created, including a kids signage system. Illustrations are hand-drawn and suitable for children of different ages.

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© Machteld Schoep

Semi-circular voids and skylights, the use of wood, bright colours and unobstructed views provide a pleasant atmosphere

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© Machteld Schoep

The warm brick facade connects the hospital to the urban fabric; the two top floors are set back to make room for balconies

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© Silo Agency

Impression of different locations throughout the hospital

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© Machteld Schoep

The street, which gives access to all departments, has warm materials and offers sheltered waiting areas

Location of project:
Mecanoo Architects, Delft

SILO Agency, The Hague

BAM Advies & Engineering, Bunnik

Ingenieursbureau Linssen, Amsterdam

DGMR Raadgevende Ingenieurs, Arnhem

Keijsers Interiors, Venray

Royal Ahrend, Sint-Oedenrode

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