Architecture and innovation

The districts in which both Hospital Clínic and the Sant Joan de Déu Health Park in Sant Boi de Llobregat are located are already fully developed urban areas where only urban renovation and remodelling projects are possible. This has allowed the research and healthcare functions of these facilities to be more fully integrated into and connected with their surrounding environments.

Two examples of facilities that have been improved through the construction of new buildings are described below: the new hospital in the Sant Joan de Déu Health Park in Sant Boi de Llobregat (opened in June 2010), and the new Esther Koplowitz Biomedical Research Centre, adjacent to the grounds of Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

Sant Joan de Déu General Hospital is located in the Sant Joan de Déu Health Park in Sant Boi de Llobregat, in metropolitan Barcelona. The Health Park covers an area of 98,808 m2 and houses various facilities providing psychiatric care. These grounds, from which the general public has been excluded by high walls throughout its history, are now open to the city, thanks to the inclusion of this new general healthcare building and the stipulations of the revised version of the special plan for the Sant Joan de Déu Health Park.

The hospital has a total surface area of 38,620 m² and a car park area measuring 8,357 m², spread over seven storeys. The height of each floor has been determined by the topography of the 20,019 m² plot. It has the capacity for 292 beds, 10 operating theatres, 69 examination rooms and 30 day hospital places, a rehabilitation area, an ICU, an emergency room, imaging diagnostics and a major outpatient surgery unit.

Sant Joan de Déu General Hospital building HUBc

The perimeter of the building at ground level, its cross-section and its resulting volume in relation to its surroundings were all carefully considered in the planning and construction of the building. The building consists of three wings superimposed over the contours of the ground, and a low section which connects the three wings to form an edging or frame and a continuous facade along the hospital’s new road (N-W side). However, there is no such edging on the side in contact with the Sant Joan de Déu Health Park (S-E side), so the contact with the hospital is less abrupt and the garden areas extend into the spaces between the wings. The base of the hospital is at an elevation of 19.40 m and, as the elevation increases, the building becomes lighter and adjusts to the differing ground levels so as to blend in with its surroundings.

There are three entrances to the hospital, and its structure is based on the interrelationships between horizontal and vertical communicating areas. In order to rationalize the two types of communication (lifts and stairways (vertical) and passageways and corridors (horizontal)) as much as possible, these have been placed at the centre of the building. These hubs unite the building vertically, and it is from them that the horizontal corridors, which go towards the different functional sections of each floor, emanate. To ensure that the hospital operates efficiently, internal foot traffic has been separated from external foot traffic.

The functional program of each floor is distributed in accordance with its intended use, orientation and the relationships between different areas and connecting passageways. The hospital wards are on the upper floors, thus ensuring more sunshine, better views, better ventilation and as much distance as possible from the most active healthcare areas.

Joan Prat of CPVA Arquitectes designed the building.

The Esther Koplowitz Biomedical Research Centre building (CIBEK) is a new building in a block in the Ensanche district of Barcelona, just a few metres from the main entrance to Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. This was an initiative born of public-private collaboration, which has produced a cutting-edge building that serves as an example of the advanced architecture being created in very heavily used and well established urban areas.

The CIBEK building, sponsored by the Clínic Foundation for Biomedical Research, and with the support of the Esther Koplowitz Foundation, is on its way to becoming an international benchmark centre in the field of applied biomedical research.

Esther Koplowitz Centre for Biomedical Research building CIBEK HUBc

The building has five floors and a flat roof for equipment and machinery, plus a mezzanine floor between the ground and first floors. There are three floors below ground, the first for scientific use and others intended for use as car parks and other auxiliary areas. The building’s constructed area measures 14,000 m², which wraps around a square that will be made open to the public.

The facility's primary activities will be carried out in three large areas:

  • Research platforms and support areas (basement -1)
  • Laboratory floors (floors 1-5)
  • Technical and administrative infrastructure (ground floor and mezzanine)

The building is intended to provide the researchers working in it with the maximum level of comfort. Although the walls of the building are medium height, as is  typical of the Ensanche district, on all floors the walls of the laboratories that back the two facades have been tiled to provide an abundance of natural light. The electrical lighting uses LED bulbs, resulting in significant energy savings (30% compared to conventional lighting) and has led to the building being awarded a Class B European energy rating.

In order to take full advantage of the size of the building, both in terms of its base area and height, many of the technical installations supplying the laboratory facilities pass through the building’s facade. Special passages provide maintenance access.

The upper basement has an area of 2,400 m² which houses the research platforms, which are managed by teams of scientists, and each of which is surrounded by a transversal support area. During construction, the framework of this floor was specially treated to allow it to absorb vibrations originating outside the building which would otherwise affect the sensitive equipment installed and the tasks carried out on this floor.

The CIBEK building contains the following platforms:

  • Cytometry
  • Genomics
  • Gene therapy
  • Human tissue and tumour bank
  • Biobank
  • Imaging area
  • Methodological and bioinformatics support

The support areas will have the following facilities: radioactivity, sterilization, storage and DP.

Floors 1-5 house the laboratories. Two on each floor, these are large (about 1,000 m²) and have an open-plan running along the building’s two facades. They will have 200 m of laboratory counter space and six offices on each floor, with the following specific support areas:

  • Refrigerated chambers (at 4º and -20º centigrade)
  • Culture rooms
  • Preparation rooms
  • PCR
  • Storage
  • Waste
  • Specific rooms for each floor

The mezzanine floor – between the ground and first floors – measures 650 m² and houses the centre’s management and administrative support. However, it is primarily intended for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and thus has a lecture hall with a capacity for 116 attendees and features the latest audiovisual equipment, two seminar rooms with seating for 15, and a large meeting room for 20 people. There are also teaching rooms and other meeting rooms, which are all equipped with audiovisual equipment.

Antoni Ubach designed the building.