The renovated entrance area welcomes visitors through a covered traverse that transitions into the bright entrance hall. The semi-outdoor climate from the traverse is used as a gradual transition zone from outside to inside. The spacious entrance hall offers ample space to calmly orientate and determine direction. All aspects of the design – from functionality to architecture and technology – reinforce each other. The new face of UMC Utrecht energizes both guests and staff. It contributes to a sense of security and feeling welcome, helping patients navigate the hospital in a more relaxed manner. A challenging task that the team is diligently working on in close collaboration with a program team and a patient panel from UMC Utrecht in the coming years.
Where Architecture and Technology Complement Each Other
Creating a hospital as a pleasant place for visitors was the ultimate goal set by UMC Utrecht. Wouter Hagen, Program Manager of the Entrance Area at UMC Utrecht, stated, “The design by Gortemaker Algra Feenstra and Royal HaskoningDHV not only had the right appearance but all elements contribute to our story behind this redesign. From light, indoor climate, and materials to the use of greenery and smart routing: clarity for our guests. Additionally, the design is based on circular thinking, reflected in sustainable techniques and materials reuse. Both architecture and installations now directly contribute to the comfort of our guests.”
A Healthy and Sustainable Future
UMC Utrecht aims to be fully energy-neutral by 2030, and the design of the entrance area aligns with this goal. The sustainability ambitions of UMC Utrecht are translated into visible measures such as minimal use of artificial lighting, solar panels, innovative solutions for microclimates, and a construction made of recycled steel. Everything comes together in a beautiful, bright entrance hall, covered by a light-transmitting protective canopy. This distinctive canopy is clearly visible from ground level and serves as a hallmark for UMC Utrecht.
To realize the new entrance area, existing parts need to be partially demolished. Much of this “demolition material” is reused in the new design. New materials – from furniture to building materials – come from sustainable sources.
Clear and Efficient Routing
The interior and placement of functions in the entrance area are based on guest behavior and preferences, as well as the most common flows. These are guided by pedestrian flow analyses. The routing through the entrance hall is subtly guided by a logical arrangement of functions. For instance, check-in kiosks and service desks are illuminated, allowing guests to quickly locate where they need to check in. After these basic facilities, visitors can bridge any waiting time in a relaxing space with serene seating and work areas, dining facilities, and greenery. Acoustics, indoor climate, and lighting have been adjusted to the space. This ensures that visitor flows proceed efficiently and smoothly, prioritizing comfort and freedom of choice for visitors.
The reconfiguration of the entrance area is the first project resulting from the framework agreement established by UMC Utrecht with five market partners earlier this year. This unique collaborative approach leads to the sharing of knowledge and close cooperation among the parties to develop sustainable and forward-looking solutions.