Sugaring the pill: Private hospital by Jean–Philippe Pargade.
Text: Detail Daily
Harley Street in Central London is a district, and a street that specialises in private medicine. It is as far away from medicine for the masses as it is possible to imagine. People who have stayed in some of the hospitals around Harley Street report, if one forgets the treatment side of things for the moment, it is like checking into a luxurious hotel.
This private hospital located in Villeneuve d'Ascq, France, and designed by Jean–Philippe Pargade, also takes the idea of a hotel as its basic architectural premise. Rather than the grand city hotel as its model, it however takes something more like a modern three star airport hotel for its inspiration.
Is it better for its lack of bombast?
The building's massing negotiates between small-scale suburban housing, nearby commercial buildings and wide open areas of green space. Its plan is a simple rectangular layout and has a series of internal courtyards around which the rooms are planned. It resembles a cluster of 19th century “racetrack” hospitals which consisted of wards on the sides of the quadrangle with circulation arranged down the centre of the wards in a loop. This not surprising as one of the motifs of the 19th century hospital was to separate out social class as much as contagious disease. Here the separation is about creating privacy in the form of private rooms for individual patients.
The use of colour in the building is important. The façade is dark grey brick which apparently resonates with the local vernacular. The glazing has screen printed floral patterns on the glass - a little welcome sugar coating on the pill that is a large modern hospital building. Internally, the pastel shades to the surfaces no doubt engender calm in the people using the spaces.
The narrative, I suggest, is a Modernist one of fresh air, light, efficiency and cleanliness.
Just what the doctor ordered?