The process of choosing a land to build a hospital is one of the first steps in the design and construction process of new health centre buildings. It is a phase that requires special attention as getting a suitable site greatly facilitates the design and construction process later.
For this, it is important to make an analysis of the different parameters that influence the choice of land to build a hospital.
In the first place we must study a whole series of factors concerning the location of the site and the elements that surround and affect it.
Urban and social fabric
The urban fabric that composes each neighbourhood varies according to the building typology and the structuring of the free spaces.
When choosing a land to build a hospital, it is important to check the characteristics of the neighbourhood, such as population density, whether it has gardens or green spaces, the type and quantity of the public buildings it has or the profile of the people who inhabit it.
In this sense it will be interesting to opt for residential areas where there is demand for hospitals, or more isolated areas but with good connectivity. It will also be essential the urban analysis of the nearest existing hospitals, to see what health services are most needed in the area. In addition, if the site has green areas nearby, it will be a positive factor that will complement the health centre.
Accessibility by public and private transport
Together with the analysis of the urban and social fabric, it is essential to look for land to build a hospital that has good accessibility, both in public and private transport.
In this sense, connectivity by public transport will be of particular importance because it will allow access to the hospital to all groups, whether or not they can mobilize in a private vehicle.
Morphology of the land to build a hospital
Once the urban and sociological study of the area is done, we will focus on the characteristics of the site itself.
The size of a land to build a hospital is a key point when selecting the right site. These are buildings of great magnitude that need large areas to be able to develop well the entire functional program.
Nevertheless the necessary square meters will vary greatly depending on whether we will build a complete hospital, a specialized clinic or a socio-sanitary centre, among others.
For example, we can find hospitals in plots of 6,000m², others that occupy an area of 30,000m² and even some of greater extent in 90,000² of land. This magnitude will vary depending on the urban fabric, the amount of heights that can be built, the compactness of the building or the need to include exterior spaces or surface parking areas of the hospital.
In terms of topography it is essential to know the real limits as well as the slope of the terrain, through a topographic survey.
It is necessary to take into account that the greater the slope the greater complication of excavations and retaining walls that can increase the cost of the foundations and the total of the construction.
In addition, the slope of the ground to build a hospital is also closely related to the subsoil since it is not the same sloping terrain whose subsoil is resistant than a soft subsoil that does not support weight. In this way, the worst case would be a terrain with a lot of slope in which the substrate is resistant at a big depth.
However, in some cases, the slope can also become an advantage since it can allow us to build a hospital stepped and adapted to the terrain, attaching a part of it to the natural terrain to obtain better thermal performance.
Orientation and sunshine
Along with topography and dimension it is also important to consider the orientation and the sunshine of the terrain to build a hospital, what means the incidence of solar radiation that receives the terrain.
This parameter will vary depending on whether we are on the north or south slope of a mountainous area, the amount of vegetation around the terrain or the shadow that can be projected from neighbouring buildings.
Regarding the orientation, it is always preferable to choose south or southeast orientations to have the maximum of natural light and to obtain luminous spaces within the sanitary centre.
Presence of vegetation
Vegetation can play a very important role in the design of a hospital as it can act as an acoustic, visual or natural shadow barrier to excessive solar radiation, as we explained in our previous article on landscaping in hospitals.
The existing vegetation will also give us clues about the presence of water and runoff from the land. The areas with more presence of vegetation and shrubs will probably be where a vein of water accumulates or passes underground.
Another of the most important checks before buying a land to build a hospital will be the state of the subsoil and its composition.
The presence of water on the ground also affects and should be considered in the approach of a hospital, especially in relation to the foundations. Therefore we must control the existence of water runoff, as well as the degree of humidity of the land or the water table, data that we will find in the geotechnical study.
The geotechnical study, in addition to detecting the water table, will also consider the characteristics of the subsoil, that is, the composition of the different layers of the terrain from lower to greater depth.
Proximity of pollutants
Along with the urban and social fabric and the morphology of the site, we would like to highlight the presence of pollutants in relation to the choice of land to build a hospital. They are emitters of acoustic, light or electromagnetic pollution.
Although we choose insulating materials and design the hospital to create quiet spaces for patients, they will always help to have a healthier environment at the contamination level.
Therefore we must avoid areas close to large leisure centres, industries, large road traffic, mobile phone antennas, telecommunications networks, or radar, electrical substations or high voltage lines. In this way we will avoid an overexposure to harmful agents for the health of all users of the health centre.
Legislation and legal status of the land
Finally, to emphasize the importance of the normative and legal state of the land to construct a hospital. It is necessary to study aspects such as the rules applicable to the boundaries of the site, the state of debts, the possible urbanization affects or the build ability and occupation of a land.
As always, finish remembering the commitment of CASA SOLO with the design and construction of the current and future sanitary spaces.
As architects, our work can contribute to improve the quality of life of patients, families and professionals, by implementing the operation and structure of hospital spaces.