Project in Detail
St Jozef community health center
One Architecture, Amsterdam, Netherlands
World Architecture Festival 2009 - Category Commendation
Frontal view of the cut building
Marcel van der Burg - Primabeeld
With the departure of the hospital to a new building on the edge of the city of Deventer, the 1957 St Jozef hospital complex, a national monument, became obsolete. One Architecture proposed to reuse the former monastery and some of the hospital wings in order to develop a health-center for the different practices that had become footloose after the relocation of the hospital. Together with complementary medical practices, these form a well-facilitated community health center, one of the largest in the country. The realization of the Jozef has kept many basic medical facilities near the city center.
The original 1957 hospital was a very catholic project. It has a renaissance organization of buildings around a courtyard. It has interesting art applications. It has a monastery with a beautiful chapel. Its post war concrete structure is disguised by brick. Logistically, the existing buildings were too complex to house the new function. The monastery part of the complex, core of the new community health center, did not have its own entrance.
One's intervention in the building is highly protestant. By cutting through the building, a new entrance is made while maintaining the Italianate order around the courtyard. From here, the concrete structure that is brought out in the open with the cuts develops as a design theme, exposing the 'true nature' of the complex. A series of additional cuts open the complex for its new function, and orient the practices towards the gardens and the courtyards.
New routes and views open the closed courtyard block structure of the building. Central corridors have been replaced by corridors along facades, in order to allow the visitors to orientate themselves and to improve the spatial conditions. The formerly dark building, with its ritualized spatial organization, has become transparent, clear and light, without losing is original flavors. A new central staircase is erected in the original chapel. Made of wood, the staircase resembles a piece of ‘church furniture’, which allows the original chapel to be perceived as intact, including the original stained glass windows.
With the transformation of the hospital to a community health center, the architects have collaborated intensively with the artist Berend Strik in the development of new art applications. The new works use the techniques of post war period, combined with contemporary methods. Also in terms of content do the artworks past and present. They use the imagery of the original artworks and photographs from the ‘50’s, taken in the former hospital, with reflections on health and the body. The main piece, a pink concrete wall on the entrance court, depicts the insides of the human body. The waiting rooms, all directly connected to the central circulation, are identified by new stained windows.
The 6000m2 complex is engineered such that it has state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical installations. The main feat, however, was the engineering of the routing in such a way that the main circulation system is centralized and open, whilst submitting to the highest fire code standards.
The ambition of the client and the architect was to demonstrate that a strong investment in architecture and art in the transformation of a listed building does not have to contradict the ease, accessibility and functionality that is required for a community health center. On the contrary: the uniqueness of the spatial environment will add to the Jozef as a strong anchor in the community.
Client / Developer
Inside Outside/Petra Blaisse
ABT Adviesbureau voor bouwtechniek