In 2013, the studio headed by Italian designer Matteo Thun and Spaniard Antonio Rodriguez won an international competition to design a new hospital wing for Germany’s largest orthopaedics centre, the Waldkliniken Eisenberg.
The hospital is located in the Thuringian Forest around 45 miles southwest of Leipzig and the new wing was designed to accommodate pre- and post-operative patients, as well as those requiring therapeutic treatments.
Matteo Thun & Partners was awarded the contract because of its extensive experience working in the hospitality sector, which enabled it to propose a design that combines the comfort of a hotel with the performance criteria required by a care facility.
“The underlying vision for our ward block was to build a hospital that treats its patients as guests,” reads an entry on the hospital’s website. “It should be a hospital that provides both first-class medical care and the highest levels of living quality.”
The building’s six floors accommodate 128 patient rooms, the majority of which contain two beds within a Z-shaped plan that can be separated using a central curtain to provide privacy when required.
The patient rooms are arranged around the perimeter of the circular building so they receive plenty of daylight and fresh air.
Winter gardens located between adjacent rooms provide shared spaces that look out across the grounds.
“Because of the strong emphasis on having a hotel-like character, the standard of the patient rooms differs significantly from the usual standard in Germany,” said the designers in a project statement.
“The arrangement of bathrooms, furniture and veranda offer the possibility of both interaction and privacy as needed. In addition, patients can eat together and talk to each other in the light-flooded piazza.”
The ward’s public spaces are designed to resemble the communal areas in a hotel. These include the lobby, which features wooden flooring and an acoustically absorbent slatted timber ceiling.
Wood is used throughout the project to create a warm and calming feel inside the building. Green roofs and planted courtyards enhance the connection with the surrounding nature.
The building also contains a public bar and several restaurants, including a fine-dining restaurant accessible to patients and guests.
A cafeteria for patients at the centre of the building connects to a planted courtyard, while a staff canteen opens onto the surrounding landscaped grounds.
The project features on the shortlist for Dezeen Awards 2021 in the leisure and wellness interior category, alongside a mental health facility in Edinburgh, Scotland, which is designed with a non-institutional aesthetic, and a hair salon in Oakland, California, that features curved benches and joinery.
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