A hospital like no other
Having to go to the hospital – it is one of those events in life that no one looks forward to. Across Germany, individuals who share this fate frequently will enter a drab building, stay in a dreary room and eat bland food. We intend to do things differently in the future.
In our role as a municipal hospital, we will provide patients who have all forms of health insurance with both the residential quality of starred hotels and world-class health care.
Thanks to the building’s round shape, every patient can take in the beautiful countryside of Saale-Holzland County. Each of our patient rooms – all of which meet premium hotel standards – also has access to a winter garden where our guests can enjoy the view even better.
Our hospital has much more to offer as well, including a sophisticated IT system that will provide patients with all of the important information they need before, during and after their stay in our hospital and three restaurants that will offer delicacies that will certainly not taste like “hospital food.”
The concept of the "Hospitecture"
The concept on which our new ward block is based can be summed up in one word: “hospitality.” It captures the essence of this idea by melding the Greek word for guest, “hospis,” and the English word “hospital.”
The underlying vision for our new ward block was to build a hospital that treats its patients as guests. It should be a hospital that provides both first-class medical care and the highest levels of living quality.
Inspired by this idea, the architect and designer Matteo Thun teamed with David-Ruben Thies, the Managing Director of the Waldkliniken, to develop a special “hospitecture.”
The hospitecture focuses on both the physical and mental well-being of people. We will support our patients – our guests – throughout the healing process so that they can resume their normal lives just as fast as the art of medicine will allow them to.
Always there for our guests
We also apply an innovative care concept in our old building: The unit structure places our guests at the center of our activities. They are the hub around which everything in our hospital revolves.
Our nursing personnel are assigned eight patients each and care for these individuals from the time they are admitted to the hospital until the time that they are discharged from it. Assigned contact partners, defined areas of responsibility and personal relationships create trust and security – an important factor in our guests’ recovery.
Our new ward block lends an architectural form to this concept. In the future, our nursing staff will work in unit stations and will always be visible and accessible to our guests.
The unit structure will perform one more important function as well: The clearly defined contact partners will create trust and closeness – the key factor in the healing process along with medical care.
Good for Thuringia
As the region’s largest employer, we are consciously aware of the responsibility that we have for our state and its residents. With this responsibility in mind, we directed a large portion of our investments in the new ward block toward companies in our region.
In one reflection of this commitment, we awarded 85 percent of construction contracts to regional companies. We were able to do so because we had no general contractor. Instead, we handed out all contracts individually.
“It was an exhausting job, but it paid off,” said David-Ruben Thies, the Managing Director of the Waldkliniken. On a square meter basis, our new ward block cost no more than other hospital construction projects have. It also received abundant public financial support.
Symbol for Saale-Holzland County
At the Waldkliniken, we treat patients from all parts of Germany, Europe and the world. But we have remained true to our roots. For this reason, the architecture of our new ward block also reflects the close relationship that we maintain with our home, Saale-Holzland County.
The wooden façades symbolize the county’s forest-covered countrysides and the round shape the county itself, the source of our hospital’s funding. The Jena University Medical Center holds a minority stake in the hospital as well.
The stylistic elements used by architect Matteo Thun in the interior of our ward block and the oak trees that were recently planted also underscore our close relationship with nature in the region. When you step into the new building, you look directly into a world of green. We have also included trees in our planted inner courtyard, the oasis at our hospital.
One of them is noticeably crooked. It represents the symbol of orthopedics: a crooked tree tied to a pole. Long wooden ladders, a typical symbol for Saale-Holzland County, are used as a special form of decoration on the ceilings of the children’s ward.
Matteo Thun - the architect
The exceptional architecture of our new ward block bears the unmistakable imprint of the world-renowned architect and designer Matteo Thun.
Based in Milan, Thun specializes in the job of melding aesthetics, mission and sustainability – in both buildings and everyday objects. But the 68-year-old is not someone who is easy to pigeonhole. It is something that is reflected in the many stops he has made during his career.
The native of South Tyrol has been, among other things, a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, art director of the well-known brand “Swatch” and the designer of a world-famous cup collection for the coffee company “illy”. Together with his Milan-based team, he planned and built luxury hotels around the world for 20 years.
In 2013, the internationally renowned and award-winning architect and designer Matteo Thun was successful in the bidding process for the new ward block (HDR GmbH/Matteo Thun & Partner S.R.L). Thun was convincing with his ecologically sustainable and cost-efficient concept.
A patient hotel – this is the goal with which we started planning in 2013 and with which we have been constructing our lighthouse project since 2016. An exterior façade made of glass and wood will give our patients a free view into the surrounding forest in the future and will thus help them in their recovery. In the interior, rooms for different functions, retreat and recovery complement each other.
"Premium Hospitality in Nature" is our guiding principle. It combines hospitality with medical excellence in a healing environment.
Normal standards are looked at anew. Among other things, the patient rooms are of much higher quality and are rated above the average standard for hospitals in Germany. There will predominantly be two-bed rooms. Through the design and arrangement of the beds, the bathroom and the conservatory, it is possible to retreat or also to have a meeting place close to the bed.
In order for the planned concept to function smoothly in reality, we have thought ahead here, too. With our mock-up room (sample and test room construction) in the patient garden, we were able to reconsider the planning and thus enable even better comfort in the new ward block.
The standard and private rooms were replicated one-to-one, enabling doctors, nurses and also the planning team to gain a comprehensive insight into the future conditions and processes. The new ward block is due to open in 2020.
Almost everyone ought to have encountered Matteo Thun at some time or other in their everyday lives. Perhaps not personally, but in the form of one of the many products he has designed.
Among other things, Thun has designed espresso cups for Illy, wristwatches for Swatch, not to mention washbasins, toilets, vases and office chairs. And, as an architect, naturally houses, hotels, office buildings as well as the “City of Wood”, a whole estate of terraced houses made of wood.
Matteo Thun’s credo is simplicity
Thun is considered one of Europe’s most active designers. His motto: “eco – non ego”. He is very in touch with nature, propagates non-design and makes little fuss about himself and his work.
His credo is simplicity. This is a recurring theme throughout his career. “In the USA‚ ‘The new normality’ is already an established concept for modern aesthetics. Only we Europeans still have a little difficulty embracing this,” explains Thun.
Already in the design of the Illy espresso cup he made use of the sensation of the normal. “After I had drawn this cup in 1991, it was copied thousands and thousands of times and by every possible porcelain manufacturer. Why? Because it’s incredibly normal,” says Thun. “It looks almost exactly like how a five-year-old child would draw a cup.”
Matteo Thun’s mentor was Ettore Sottsass
Thun was born in Bolzano in 1952, his parents ran a porcelain company. At art school in Salzburg he was a pupil of the artist Oskar Kokoschka, from whom he learned, in his own words, the “Discipline of seeing”.
He studied architecture in Florence and came into contact “with the iron discipline of a holistic genius” in his mentor Ettore Sottsass. Together with him, he founded the Memphis Group in 1981 and was its youngest member, before becoming independent with his own office "Thun & Partners" in Milan in 1984, which also has a subsidiary in Shanghai today.
With around 60 employees, Matteo Thun develops projects in the fields of design, architecture and interior architecture.
Matteo Thun’s special relationship with wood
Wood plays a dominant role as a building material. For Thun, it is even the material of the 21st century.
“In contrast to concrete and cement, wood becomes ever more beautiful with age,” declares Thun. “A wooden façade is similar to the face of an old farmer’s wife in the alps, who goes out onto the mountain pastures every day and whose skin is marked by deep furrows. Everyone will say: What a beautiful woman. You can observe the same effect with the ancient hay barns made of larch, which you can find all over the Alps. Patina is a quality characteristic, in the human face and in architecture alike.”
The much-cited concept of sustainability is not so much the basis as the normal consequence of responsible building. “For me, the term sustainability is completely redundant, a pleonasm. Because, for an architect, it should go without saying that one should build ecologically and sustainably. If you don’t do that, you’re not an architect,” says Thun.
Our new ward block by the numbers
A long list of figures will show you just how impressive our new ward block is.
The facility has 16,500 square meters of walkable area, roughly the size of 2.3 soccer fields.
The cubage, or cubic content, totals 66,500 cubic meters.
The diameter of our round building is 67.4 meters.
Our new building has 6 floors. A basement and five stories. It also has a top floor with a technology center.
752 rooms are located in the six floors.
Our ward has 128 rooms with beds that have 246 beds, only 13 of which are reserved for people with private health insurance, and 11 in the children’s ward. 7 individual rooms are reserved for isolation and patient care. The boarding area has 8 rooms.
1,000 doors are used in our ward along with 3,493 luminaires and 105 outdoor lights.
1,500 oak leaves, the logo of the Waldkliniken, have been scattered around the building along with 31 wooden ladders that symbolize Saale-Holzland County.
The building has 2 fireplaces.
The building cost about €68 million. 100 percent of eligible costs were covered by the Free State of Thuringia. This currently amounts to about €52 million.
52 verandas have been built around the building. The arrangement totals 360 degrees.
55 trees were newly planted around our building.
3 restaurants will feed the patients and personnel in our ward in the future.