Architects: Sharon Architects - Arad Sharon, Sharon Gur-Ze’ev & RZA-Ranni Ziss Architects
- Photographs: Rona Vatash
Text description provided by the architects. The new Sami Ofer building is a revolutionary breakthrough in the architectural design of medical institutions, as it places the patient, his visitors and the medical staff and their needs at the center of the activity. The new 55,000 sqm, 69 meter-high building has 17 floors, four underground parking floors to serve as a 650-bed emergency hospital, topped by another 13 medical floors.
The Samy Ofer Building was designed as a simple white monolithic cube built next to the historic Ichilov hospital building, designed in the 1960s by Arieh Sharon. State-of-the-art technologies are applied within the white architectural simplicity which historically has been the hallmark of hospitals, aiming to create a structure that is both transparent, eco-friendly and suited to the local climate. White, which in the past symbolized the "white city" architectural style of Tel-Aviv and was also associated with medical hygiene – "everything exposed and open" – will also be dominant in the interior design of the new tower. Strong colors – red, yellow – will be integrated to express measured liveliness in a field of white. The new tower strikes a delicate balance between the worlds of architecture and medicine, testing the ability of white, soft, sensitive and upbeat architecture to assuage the sense of anxiety and distress when entering a hospital, without the annoying need to try to masquerade as another type of building (hotel, bank, homey-feeling, etc.). The idea was to revive the old Ichilov Hospital building by designing a public atrium connecting the new Cardiology Tower with the historic building.
Red ramps- bridges are suspended like arteries in the atrium space and lead the public of visitors to waiting galleries facing each other in the two buildings, in figurative tension. The historic Ichilov Hospital will be renovated in its original spirit of modernism. The new Heart building is the only medical building in Israel designed without fences and with a side that interfaces and runs parallel to a main city street – Weizman Street. A two-level urban gallery, typical of Tel-Aviv, was designed parallel to a new wide public square bordering Weizman Street.
This urban gallery has a coffee shop, commercial areas, small theater for the benefit of the hospital patients and visitors, and serves as a meeting place between the patients and their visitors as well as the influx of people from the street. Positioned in the glass front of the building, like ventricles of the heart, are red windows that serve as "theater boxes", providing the patients with vital contact with the outside. "Healing gardens" surround the building and are integrated in the interior spaces.