With the ambition of creating an attractive yet practical building that would actively benefit patients’ wellbeing, Assar Architects looked to specify a high-quality, robust and sustainable material to achieve a harmonious balance at CHC MontLégia Hospital in Liege, Belgium.
The client’s brief was very specific: the accommodation unit had to be distinct from the general services, highlighting the different stages of the patient’s journey. This would ensure equilibrium in a building that must deliver a comfortable and relaxing environment as well as providing lifesaving care.
Matt black and white
To achieve this, Assar Architects gave the two sections distinct identities, using Neolith® Arctic White for the accommodation facade and Nero Jet Black for the general services section. They also specifically wanted a matt finish that would minimise glare and shadows, which could spoil the uninterrupted design. Sintered Stone was the only logical option at this scale since, unlike steel; it does not undulate under the hot sun, creating unwanted shadows.
The two opposites of white and black create a clear visual juxtaposition between the units, each shade visually representative of the two distinct but complementary services. The lighter hue symbolises the recuperative process, while the darker colour exposes the serious nature of the medical work being carried out.
Colour expresses the building’s identity
Assar Architects pointed out that colour is an important medium through which one can express a building’s identity perfectly: “Our work with Neolith in Liege is a great example of this. White and black are powerful colours, and when used together make a strong statement. The serious lifesaving work that goes on in CHC MontLégia deserves proper representation, and we felt the juxtaposition between the two polar opposites of white and black was the ideal design to convey this.”
The two-toned structures were built at different heights, with the accommodation blocks reaching six storeys (16 000m² of Arctic White) and the medical space standing at just two (6 000m² of Nero). Sintered Stone has a strong advantage at this scale, as it can be specified in a wide range of sizes, unlike natural stone. The material’s durability is also important for facades, as it can endure weather extremes.
Windows a key component
For the recovery unit, patient comfort was the primary concern and wide, horizontal windows were therefore installed in the facade, giving occupants an open, panoramic vision. Even the positioning of the windows was carefully considered: placing them lower to the floor not only enhances the view of patients who may be lying in bed, but also keeps direct sun out. In the general services area, vertical glazing was specified for more flexibility.
TheSize Surfaces (South Africa)
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