Photographer: © Philippe RuaultThe Laënnec building has a capacity of 404 beds including 120 for intensive care and intermediate care in all paediatric disciplines. The main medical functions are grouped by complete levels and share the same equipment and doctors. Despite the contextual difficulties, a compact emergency platform: On the upper ground floor, paediatric emergencies (70 000 emergencies per year) will be located beside the imaging department, contiguous with the reception of polytraumatised patients, which is next to the recovery room, alongside the 14 operating theatres in the main paediatric surgery block.
The medical and technical platform includes paediatric imaging, operating theatres, post-surgery monitoring rooms and the catheterisation laboratory, making a total of 20 procedure rooms. It is shared between the various disciplines, with a permanent focus on efficiency and optimisation of resources. Combined intermediate care and intensive care: On the 1st floor, the surgical intermediate care beds are grouped next to the intensive care beds, forming a homogeneous unit of 67 beds with direct vertical link to the operating theatres and the medical intermediate care beds adjacent to emergencies.
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The land planned for construction of the new Laënnec building is located on the Necker hospital for sick children site. The landscape of the Necker hospital for sick children is striking through its diversity: of scales, modenatures, colours and materials of the buildings, placed side by side with no attempt to create unity or integrate in the existing architectural and urban environment.
The various types of relation with neighbouring constructions and plots are ignored. The hospital developed and expanded with no long-term logic, no global plan since the merger of the two hospitals, Necker and Enfants Malades, in 1926.
Metropolitan opportunity. While the built-up landscape on the outskirts of towns changes at high speed, the major urban centres like Paris seem to have exhausted or abandoned their potential to innovative and renew.
The desire to install architecture in a metropolitan reality considered as a living environment offering unlimited changes comes up against the fear of imagining the contemporary city without nostalgia. To reverse this trend, all opportunities for renovation and urban transformation must be grasped and explored, especially those concerning the major institutional sites in town centres, to retain and develop their activities while continuing to build the town on the town.
Necker hospital is stifled inside an enclave completely closed in on itself. In this case, the urban operation consists in triggering a vast and necessary upheaval to remedy this lack of relation and open the hospital onto the city more widely, while radically metamorphosing the site to allow in-depth renovation.
After first demonstrating that the vital proximity constraints required by the medical project could usefully direct and support the choice of a more urban position for the new building on the Duroc junction, studies then focused on exploiting the potentials offered by demolishing all the building cluttering up and stifling the centre of the plot.
Releasing a vast exterior space in the centre of the island, made feasible by locating the new project on the junction, creates three parallel assemblies, two strips built each side of a large central garden. This radical new urban scheme improves the overall vision by deliberately integrating the architecture of the old buildings kept, stressing the importance paid to the exterior spaces, and gives the central garden a key role in the site remodelling.
Locating the project at the corner of rue de Sèvres and boulevard Montparnasse offers the new hospital maximum legibility over the district. The hierarchised treatment of the various volumetric entities redefines the image of the hospital on rue de Sèvres. The opening to the exterior makes a strong impact at the junction, giving an immediate and obvious picture of the hospital from the public space.
The project is also highly structuring in the long term, open to future development not based, as has been the case until now, on piecemeal availability of land opportunities. This demonstrates the ability of a pragmatic and reactive architectural vision to regenerate a large condemned institutional urban site, progressively decaying, in the heart of Paris.
It is also a negotiated and balanced project insofar as the demolition of some run-down and unsuitable buildings, is more than compensated by the rehabilitation and show-casing of the most interesting historical heritage within the new site plan. Finally, this project saves ground space by offering, in the very heart of the site and the district, a landscaped park of almost one hectare in natural ground, after having built twice as much surface area as was demolished.
A new architectural image.
The double skin on the corner building and the ground level filter reflect the careful consideration given to the relations between the inside of the hospital and its immediate urban environment. At the junction of rue de Sèvres and boulevard Montparnasse, a corner building defines the urban and architectural link between the new Laënnec building and the surrounding buildings.
Hiding the large neighbouring pinion wall on boulevard Montparnasse, it negotiates the corner by asserting the public nature of the construction while respecting the neighbouring volumes and structures. Its architecture is based on a pleated solar double facade comprised of multiple glass facets to protect against the noisy crossroads. The progressive offset, from bottom to top, of the broken vertical bands, lightens the volume and reflects ad infinitum the perpetual movement of the crossroads.
Due to its complex and changing nature, the pleated double skin creates progressive, adapted relations between the various scales of the site. This type of facadePhilippe Gazeau architecte _ firstname.lastname@example.org 2 / 4makes a break from traditional hospital buildings, it represents a specific and contemporary response to the urban and architectural context.
The architecture is bright, happy and welcoming, understandable by all: patients, families and local residents alike.Bright skin. Above the glazed base on rue de Sèvres, the largest volume of the Laënnec building turns back towards the inside of the site through a system of successive indentations pushing back the highest levels towards the inside the plot.
The facades of the four floors of rooms located between the base and the roof are surrounded by a bright texture consisting of a second printed translucent glass protective skin wrapping the curtain wall providing weather protection, in order to filter the light and form a frame for the exterior scenery.
The translucent material diffuses soft, homogeneous light towards the interior spaces, dims the exterior brightness to give depth to the facades and reflects at the same time the changing moods of the weather and the brightness of the day and night lights of the city. These glazed panels act as diffracted reflections of the combined atmospheres of the urban context on rue de Sèvres side and the landscaped environment of the large interior garden.
The facade therefore expresses the attention paid to the ambiance and inner comfort rather than a formal arbitrary composition.
Public garden. Locating the Laënnec building on the Duroc crossroads releases space inside the site for a large central garden, an area for walking, relaxing and urban relation. This vast free landscaped area combines, structures and unifies the disparity of styles and architectures existing on the hospital site and connects rue de Sèvres and rue Vaugirard via a public footpath.
The footpath between the buildings leads to a large central park of lawns planted with spindle trees and coppice trees with asphalt or grass alleys running between them. More or less steep slopes, direct or winding paths allow people to pass quickly through the park or just take their time, as they please.
On this major route, an imposing fresco by Keith Haring painted on the central pole of an emergency staircase saved from destruction will guide visitors from the entrances on rue de Sèvres and rue Vaugirard. The natural gradients of the site have gentle slopes with soft mounds crossed by easily accessible winding grassed alleys.
The gentle undulations created are planted with robinia pseudoacacia pyramidalis with its feathery leaves, alternating with thin coppices of maple trees to create light effects and preserve perspectives. A play area reserved for children, patients or just visitors is nested in the hollow of the oriental lawn, at the foot of the Laënnec building.
Opening out to the city.
The urban filter formed by the green wall groups and unites the various volumes of the new Laënnec building at the Duroc and rue de Sèvres junction.
The base facade on rue de Sèvres and boulevard Montparnasse consists of a glazed screen resembling a large urban greenhouse. This plant filter offers a strong visual relation between the public space and the hospital reception areas, while preserving the privacy of the activities inside the building and offering pedestrians a facade that is much more open and light that those of the existing buildings it replaces on rue de Sèvres.
People access the Laënnec building from a large hall designed like an indoor street, parallel and contiguous with rue de Sèvres. This direct relation allows easy movement between the exterior world and the inner activities of the hospital whose most public section is no longer pushed outside the city, behind more or less blind pavilions.
The basement filter therefore naturally connects the facades and the floor of the public space and, due to its technical and aesthetic characteristics, becomes an area of transition between the inner and outer worlds.
Generous compactness. Legibility is a key issue in this programme. A building of this size automatically generates its own complexity.
Emphasis has been placed on designing clear circulation axes as legible and accessible as possible. The building stages a progressive reduction of scales from the reception and distribution areas through to the care units. The hall consists of a first part resembling an indoor street which runs parallel to rue de Sèvres.
This still-urban volume leads to the more reduced scale of the hospital spaces. Visitors are accompanied and guided to the centre of the building, from the entrance to the reception desk. The second part of the hall consists of an internal area illuminated by a monumentalPhilippe Gazeau architecte _ email@example.com 3 / 4glass roof over the admission and consultation desks positioned symmetrically opposite each other.
The building reception desk is located at the intersection of the 2 parts of the hall.
The Laënnec building comprises 10 levels, from the 2nd basement to the 6th floor. It consists of 3 elements:-A base comprised of the basements and 2 ground floor levels, upper and lower. These levels have a platform configuration, their dimensions determine the land area required to erect the building.
-In superstructure from the 1st to the 5th floor, a building containing the accommodation wards (inpatients and intensive care).
This volume is covered by a sloping roof containing the equipment rooms on the 6th floor.
-A second building block in superstructure from the 1st to the 4th floors containing most of the offices of the healthcare personnel, hospital managers and secretaries. The two building blocks in superstructure are connected by a glazed gallery.Inner landscape.
The coloured false ceilings set the atmosphere of each level and accompany visitors and lying patients from the main circulation areas to the rooms..