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Monday, April 27, 2009

Ethekwini Hospital, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

New hospital for Kwazulu Natal province

The new Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre is located just off the N2 High way at Nandi Drive, in the Riverhorse Valley Development, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

The architects were assigned the task of designing a hospital that would surpass the existing local facilities, both in feel as well as in efficiency of planning. It was specifically requested by the client that a "360 degree" building be designed. That is a building which looks pleasant from all sides, and has no visible services. This was achieved by the careful screening of most of the services on the building's roof and carefully planning the location of the electrical services on the lower level.

The hospital is six storeys in height. The entire second floor is dedicated to specialist cardiac care. The total bed count for the facility is two hundred and fifty, which is divided into a Medical Ward, a Surgical Ward, a Short Stay Unit, a Paediatric Unit and a Maternity Suite. There is also a 24hr Emergency Unit and a state of the art Radiology Department.

One of the main focal points of the design was to achieve an improved quality of stay for both the patients and their visitors. This was approached on two levels – technical and aesthetic. The technical level focused on improved service delivery by implementing the latest digital equipment for diagnosis and treatment. The aesthetic level focused on creating an environment that was warm and welcoming to all persons using the facility. This was achieved by providing as much natural lighting as possible, particularly evident in the main entrance and public waiting areas, which are lit by a skylight. The main feature staircase is encased in glass. The use of vibrant colours in the artworks, furniture, joinery and floor finishes also add to the warmth and comfort of the interior.
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