The Legacy Heritage Children’s Home Provides Housing and Care for Children Undergoing Heart Surgeries in Israel.
Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) recently opened its new house –the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home, located in the city of Holon, five km. from Tel Aviv, in Israel. The house provides housing for children who need life-saving heart surgeries, their families, as well as nurses, doctors and volunteers.
The 900 square meters (about 9,600 square feet) L-shaped building, which incorporates the latest green building techniques, includes a green roof with skylights, an energy saving system for lighting and air conditioning and solar panels to heat water. A spacious garden and outdoor playground provide a comfortable and enjoyable environment for children pre- and post-heart surgery.
“Modesty and simplicity are qualities which we recognized in the essence of SACH which helps children from developing countries regardless of their race or religion,” says Guido Herzsage, partner in Herzsage & Sternberg Architects, responsible for the design and construction of the building. “That is why the design is harmonized with the residential neighborhood, yet functional for the specific needs.”
A combination of materials, such as steel beams and sliding wooden shutters, give the façade dynamism and movement since it changes according to the position of the shutters. The shutters also block the sun and cool the building.
“We capitalized on the warm, sunny and mostly rainless conditions in Israel, for about eight months a year,” says Amit Sternberg, partner in Herzsage & Sternberg Architects, also responsible for the design. “Through the green roof and the solar panels, we maximized the sunlight use while minimizing energy and air conditioning use.” SACH’s Building – 2
SACH’s Sustainable Building Features
Various sustainable building features were implemented in the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home, including:
Green roof –Part of the rooftop in the main level was designed as a green roof. This planted area not only provides adequate outside insulation by absorbing outside heat, but more importantly, insulation for the common areas on the main level, by reducing heat transfer through the building roof. The green roof also has four skylights, which let in natural light to the kitchen and the housemother room.
Energy saving –The building is equipped with an energy saving system. Lights and air conditioning in all the rooms automatically turn off when there are no occupants.
Solar panels for heating water –Ten solar panels were installed in the roof to heat water, through five water tanks. The system provides hot water throughout the entire building.
Water re-use system –The building is prepared to re-use wastewater from the sinks for irrigation for the gardens.
These features are in line with the standards for Green Building –for buildings with reduced environmental impact – which Israel has been encouraging since 2005.
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel, buildings are responsible for more than 60 percent of the country’s electricity consumption, mainly for heating, cooling and lighting; and some 30 percent of the total quantity of fresh water produced each year.
With the help of planning and the implementation of sustainable approaches, technologies and materials in building, it is possible to reduce some 10 percent of the water consumption and some 30 percent of the electricity consumption.
The building’s façade was designed with simple lines. The design principle is to work with the environment and harmonize the exterior of the home with the residential neighborhood in which the building is located. “On the front façade, we designed a stainless steel framework on which plants will grow, covering much of the façade and giving it an organic, natural appearance,” says Amit Sternberg. “Over time, the plants grow and change, keeping the façade dynamic.”
The back façade received a different treatment. The façade overlooks an adjacent public garden. It was designed as a transparent façade, with colored glass panels and curved lines, facing the living room and outdoor playground in the main level. “We decided to ‘open’ the back façade to the public garden,” adds Guido Herzsage. “The combination of curves and glass softens the back façade and at the same time emphasizes the indoor-outdoor relationship.” SACH’s Building – 3
In the gardens surrounding the building, of about 600 square meters, emphasis was put on particular plants that children could plant, such as herbs like basil, mint and rosemary, among others, which also complement their recreational activities during their stay in the house. Also, games were installed in the playground for the recreation of the children during their stay at the house.
The building is composed of three levels, of 300 square meters each. The main level is entirely intended for the common areas, including a living room, a dining room, and an indoor playroom for the children, a spacious kitchen and a laundry room. Part of the main level is also dedicated to SACH’s offices and a housemother room.
“The kitchen is spacious and functional, allowing several mothers to simultaneously prepare meals from their respective countries for their children,” explains Amit Sternberg. The second and third levels are dedicated to the rooms for the children and their families. The total accommodation capacity is 60 beds –30 beds in 10 rooms on the second level and 25 beds in 4 rooms on the third level. “There are various rooms with different numbers of beds, from 2 to 4 beds per room, to accommodate each particular case,” explains Guido Herzsage. “The younger children need to sleep with an adult, their mother or a nurse that travels with them from their countries, while older children can share the room with other children”.
In addition, there are two bomb shelters, on the second and third levels. These are larger rooms, with 8 beds each which can also accommodate bigger families. On the main floor, there is another bomb shelter, for SACH’s staff. The building can accommodate up to 250 children annually. Volunteers and nurses are an important component of the pre- and post-heart surgery process. Thus, the house also has accommodation for volunteers and nurses; in particular, those from different countries of the world who travel to Israel to engage in activities with the children during their stay and recovery in the house. Doctors from different countries are sponsored by SACH to study and specialize in Israel. A wing of the house on the third level is dedicated to their accommodation, including 5 rooms en suite, a common area and a kitchen.
Save a Child’s Heart
Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) is an Israeli-based international humanitarian project providing life-saving heart surgery and follow-up care for children from developing countries, regardless of their race, color, religion, gender or financial situation.
SACH’s mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from developing countries, who suffer from heart disease and to create centers of competence in these countries.
Since its inception in 1995, SACH has treated over 2,700 needy children from 42 developing countries suffering from heart disease. 40% of the children who underwent cardiac surgeries are from Africa; 49% from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Iraq; 4% from Moldova, Russia and former USSR and 7% from China, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. In addition, SACH has trained 60 physicians and nurses at the SACH center in Israel, from China, Ethiopia, Moldova, Nigeria, Palestinian Authority, Eritrea, Kenya, Vietnam, Russia, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
The construction of the Legacy Heritage Children’s Home is the first step to increase SACH’s activities in Israel, and the number of children they help. Currently, the children’s heart surgeries are performed at the Wolfson Medical Center, which is located close to the new home.
Herzsage & Sternberg Architects are already designing a Pediatric Cardiology Center at the Wolfson Medical Center that will be the first international pediatric cardiac center in the Middle East. It will serve 10 percent of Israel’s population. The construction of the first phase of the new Cardiology Center is estimated by the end of 2012, and includes a pediatric intensive care unit with 12 beds, four family rooms and a common area. These family rooms respond to the needs of families who live nearby, and want to stay close to their children while they are in the intensive care unit. The second phase of the project includes the construction of two operating rooms, one of which is hybrid –allowing for diagnosis and treatment, if needed, at the same time. The third stage includes two inpatient units, in two separate levels –one for cardiology and one for pediatric care.
“SACH is developing this project in the Wolfson Medical Center not only for the heart surgeries they perform, but for the entire community,” says Guido Herzsage.