Project Area: 7,600 sqm
Project Architects: Elio Di Franco, CSPE
The Administration Building and Main Entrance Hall to the Careggi Hospital Centre plays a strategic role as both an urban junction as well as an architectural presence for Careggi and the city of Florence. Situated in the northern part of the hospital grounds, the project becomes the ‘gateway’ to the whole of the hospital campus.
Welcoming. This is the key word which has guided the design of the new facilities and its place as port of entrance to the grounds and, at the same time, a harbor to what is considered and which indeed is nothing less than a bona fide city for healthcare: Careggi.
The Administration Building offers services to the general public in addition to information, university and commercial facilities all located in
one centralized structure open to the city, a fundamental need to offer a welcome reception to all hospital users.
The pedestrian plaza, with its large covering held up by slim lined steel columns, and its hallway, made entirely of glass, make up the heart of the complex and are testimony to the design of the project as a hospital no longer to be considered a closed off place verging on the hostile. The New Entrance is not merely a door to go inside but is an area for strolling, for meeting others, and a place which represents the intricacy of the largest hospital development in all of central Italy: a new ‘square’, a covered plaza like the grand urban traditions of the Florentine “loggias”.
Among the significant factors which testify to the intention to change the relationship between the hospital and its citizens is the demolishing of the former wall which separated the hospital from the city around it, closing off the access area to the hospital from the outside world. The complex holds the administrative and health-care offices of the hospital, the university, the entrance hall, and the parking area.
The large roof like cover lies atop all or part of the different buildings rendering the separate units an integrated whole. By alternating the wide glass panels which are the design of the outside, a delicate dispersion of natural light is guaranteed. The functional role of the complex is transcended as it becomes a sort of grand gallery on an urban scale, a ‘signal’ able to relate to and impose itself within the unified whole. The nucleus of the whole system is the great high-ceilinged entrance hall.
The top level of the hall is where the managerial, health-care and administrative offices are found, connected by two sky-bridges leading to the buildings housing the operating areas of the hospital and the university.
Lengthwise along the plaza, a mirror of water embellishes the square and seems to brush against the large openings which allow the natural light to reach down to the lower floor. A partially covered patio, accessed from within the hall or from the outside, leads to a pedestrian area dedicated to shops and other commercial activity such as restaurants, bars, newsstand, pharmacy, and a three hundred seat auditorium.
The pedestrian plaza, with its large covering held up by slim lined steel columns, and its hallway, made entirely of glass, make up the heart of the complex. This arcade, 2.500 sq.m. surface, on which the glass fronts face, produces a natural microclimate which will limit the temperature ranges saving at the same time the winter heating as well summer refreshing.
The same happens with the choice of materials and tecnologies where great attention was given to energy saving: for instance, the false ceiling of the roofing is made of wood, but the very center of the building is the natural turbine gas which produces clean energy, heating and refreshing for the whole area, as well as electricity for some external buildings.
From the construction point of view most attention has been given to the use of dry assembly tecnologies, structural steel, infill prefabricated panels, achieved through industrial procedure with the aime of rationalize the proceedings, to shorten the execution times and, therefore, the costing, as the guarantee of better security.