HMC Architects Brings Green Sensibility to Medical Project in China

August 1, 2011

By Asad Syrkett
This story first appeared in Architectural Record’s China edition.

Medical Complex, Shunde District, China
Image courtesy HMC Architects

Medical Complex, Shunde District, China. Click on the slideshow button to see more images. slide show


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U.S.-based HMC Architects in collaboration with the Shunde Architectural Design Institute (SDADI) has designed a 223,000-square-meter medical complex for a 13.4-hectare site in the Shunde district, outside the city of Foshan, China.

HMC project architect Raymond Pan describes the complex as a “tertiary medical center,” one that will offer in- and out-patient facilities, dormitories for resident physicians and staff, and training facilities for new doctors and technicians. The nine-building complex will also be home to cancer-treatment and infectious-disease control centers.

A series of sustainable-building strategies will help distinguish the hospital from other sprawling greenfield building projects in China. One such strategy, which figures largely in the organization of the complex’s multiple functions and its overall aesthetic, is a large sunscreen made of local terra cotta. The screen will help keep heat gain and energy use low, says Pan. It will also serve as an “Eco-Atrium,” a skylighted space where outpatients can wait to be examined, explains the architect. Additionally, the south-facing facades of all nine buildings in the complex will be equipped with louvered photovoltaic panels, which should generate 1,500-megawatt hours of energy each year.

The medical center will also include such green features as a rainwater collection and reuse system (which will harvest surplus water during Shunde’s monsoon season), a chilled-beam system that aims to reduce the impact of the area’s often-intense humidity, and a public transit system that will bring hospital staff and patients to the complex. The complex also includes a number of “healing gardens” throughout the site, which are designed to make patients feel better by providing access to nature.

The city of Shunde hopes the hospital will serve as an anchor for civic and residential development. “In 10 years,” Pan says, “this area will be filled with mid-rise residential towers. It’s [an] unbelievable pace.” Construction, which began in November of 2010, is scheduled to be completed in September 2013.

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