Renzo Piano Building Workshop, in collaboration with Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Health Initiative has created the design for three new hospitals in Thessaloniki, Komotini, and Sparta, Greece. The project aim to provide new hospital infrastructure and improve access and quality of care in regions that are underserved.
The hospital in Thessaloniki, located in the Greek region of Central Macedonia, will be the largest of the three hospitals and will serve as a new University Pediatric Hospital.
The facility will be organized as a campus that provides tertiary pediatric services for all of Northern Greece, secondary pediatric services for greater Thessaloniki, and a new national Referral Center for Children and Adolescent Mental Health. The design puts the user experience of the patients, their families, and the hospital staff at the heart of the development.
The masterplan of the campus is organized around two primary nodes:
– the main hospital and all its clinical functions, the Child Mental Health Unit, gardens, and healing garden
– the Research Center, which includes research laboratories, educational spaces and academic offices, administrative offices, a cafeteria, public parking, staff parking, the central energy center, and a helipad. It will also include educational spaces for the academic medical faculty of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, supported by research laboratories and multiple spaces for the training of staff and students.
The masterplan provides different paths for the public and for staff. A pedestrian bridge will connect the public parking to the entrance of the hospital, providing a safe and accessible journey through the hospital’s natural setting for children and their families. On the other hand, an underground corridor for staff passes below the main Konstantinoupoleos road, creating an efficient connection between the hospital and the Research Center.
The design is also nature-oriented – the park offers gardens and play areas, spaces for activity and recreation for kids and their relatives, as well as for doctors and staff. The interior spaces feature transparent and permeable connections to the outdoor park, such as large windows in the inpatient rooms on the ward level.
The SNF General Hospital of Sparta will support local health units and health centers across the region of Laconia. The new facility will replace the existing General Hospital of Sparta, and will be combined with the Hospital of Molai to become the General Hospital of Lakonia. The main building will be a single three-story volume above ground, emerging from the park’s tree canopy in front.
The hospital’s relationship with nature is also a key aspect of this hospital’s design. For the hospital in Sparta, as for the hospitals in Komotini and Thessaloniki, trees will be an important design material. The new park will be an integral part of the design, featuring protected areas for patients, interactive playgrounds for children, and routes under the trees. There will also be “healing gardens” where patients with sensory disabilities can walk, hear, see, smell, and touch nature, aiding in the rehabilitation process.
The SNF General Hospital of Komotini will be an improved secondary hub for the Greek region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, supporting a network of local health units and health centers across the region. The venture will replace the existing Sismanogleio Hospital of Komotini, one of the oldest hospitals in Greece. The volume is designed as a three-story building surrounded by an extensive park about 70,000 square meters. Only two stories of the new hospital will be visible from the surroundings due to the sloped contours of the site and greenery, making the hospital building appear lower, and more domestic in scale as it hovers at the same height as the tree canopies.
Both wings of the hospital will be covered by a solar metallic steel structure canopy with supporting photovoltaic panels of 1.6 megawatts renewable energy capacity. The canopy will also shade the building from solar radiation and screen the technical installations on the roof. All of the core clinical functions, such as operating rooms, labs, and emergency department, will be located on the ground level, offering natural daylight and protected views towards the park. Driven by a sustainable approach, the hospital will use the right materials and resources, incorporating strategies to reduce energy consumption as much as possible, recycling materials, and using the roof to generate energy.
The design features timber construction and photovoltaic cells, as well as anticipates allowing future implementation of further developments. The hospital will be an all-electric building which removes the combustion of fossil fuels from the site. The hospital will also have 30 km of geothermal wells, where 100% of heating and most of the cooling needs are efficiently extracted from the ground. The project is registered with a certification goal of LEED Platinum, and will be carbon-zero-ready.