From Ghent’s ring road the first sight of the hospital AZ Sint-Lucas one gets is the multi-storey car park. For this reason the design devotes a lot of attention to the atmosphere and appearance of the site. The project zone is split into two parts, with the high capacity car park distributed over two buildings. This creation of two smaller buildings is effective within the spatial context and the granular size of the hospital campus, and creates a visual axis leading to the hospital.
The visual axis between the two car parks extends to the edge of the site and is designed as an avenue. On arrival the building opens itself to the visitor entering the car park via a clear entrance and exit location. Patients have direct car access and can be driven around the car park and dropped off at the entrance of the hospital. Motorists can follow a traffic loop to either return to the ring road or leave their vehicle in the car park. Direct access to the hospital is restricted to emergency services and a drop-off point under the “Oost” building, thus creating a low-traffic square for visitors, patients, and hospital employees to meet and linger.
Where the traffic loop runs under the Oost building, pedestrians from the different levels in the car park descend via stairs and lifts, thus creating a covered hotspot. Here there is a bicycle park as well as ATMs, toilets, a waiting room, and a storage room for wheelchairs available for patients on arrival. The ground levels of the buildings Oost and West provide a clear height of four meters, both to allow redesignation and to reserve certain areas for exceptional traffic such as ambulances, vans for maintenance personnel, and for parking for disabled persons, doctors, radiotherapy patients, etc. From the ground levels, access to the hospital is step-free.
Stylistically the preference is given to an open building design. Juxtaposed with the tight grid of the parking spaces, the floorboards with flowerbeds fan out to humanize the otherwise functional concept. Guardrails designed and executed in perforated aluminium plates bring contrast to the massiveness of the project. Green is used at different levels and with different objectives in the design; at ground level a number of trees and islands of green are provided. Trees provide shade and cooling, and increase the biodiversity in an urban landscape. Where the sprawling floor plates are located, there are also potted trees. The building is part of the 'greening' of the site. The new plants and flowerbeds all contain exclusively native species.