Central Hospital Health care architecture too often is a functionalist response where form follows medical functions. The greatest challenge was to transform the punitive/unpleasant nature of a hospital experience in to a pleasant experience; that the new hospital be a place of respite & comfort to the already stressed minds of those who enter it to seek help for illnesses related to all human dimensions from, birth to death. Lack of space, shortage of funds for beautification, shortage of greenery, shortage of light and ventilation were overcome by careful planning / integration of medical areas/facilities, with an atrium, vertical gardens and use of colour palette. The architectural emphasis is on “Sri Lankan tropical modern”, creating warm, friendly, healing atmosphere.
As much as providing the user with a pleasant & comforting environment, the Central Hospital is also a Ground + 13 storey + semi basement piece of complex machinery, that has been carefully designed for operational efficiency and economy. The complex user requirements of each “type of user” is addressed in the building by defined paths and openings – the carefully laid circulation systems connect public, semi public, semi private, private areas in a way in that help conserve energy, protect privacy and maintain hygiene. These circulation systems are with in 4 Layers of activity – Investigation, Consultation, Surgery, Private Patient rooms.
As illustrated in the conceptual sections below, the building via features such as the atrium, vertical gardens allows for the use of natural ventilation, cooling & sunlight and thus the conservation of energy & operational economy.
Passive Cooling The term “passive” implies that energy-consuming mechanical components like pumps and fans are not used.
Passive cooling in building design attempts to integrate principles of physics “Thermodynamics & Aerodynamics” into the building s – network of – voids:
a. Slow heat transfer into a building. This involves an understanding of the mechanisms of heat transfer: heat conduction, convective heat transfer, and thermal radiation (primarily from the sun).
b. Remove unwanted heat from a building. In mild climates with cool dry nights this can be done with natural means of ventilation. In hot humid climates with uncomfortable warm / humid nights, ventilation is essential therefore, improvised Passive Cooling completed with some mechanical ventilation appears to be a win-win situation for user and the owner.
c. Introduction of fresh air by means of active and passive methods is essential to create a healthy atmosphere in wards and public areas and to avoid cross contamination in healthcare facilities.
d. Passive cooling is essential to avoid “Sick Building Syndrome” in healthcare facilities. This is a topic which we are engaged in designing and research.