Isala, Zwolle

Designed by Alberts & Van Huut in collaboration with aan de Amstel architecten, the Isala Hospital (opened in 2013 by our Queen Maxima) provides the new premises for two merging Zwolle (Holland) based hospitals. The design of a hospital starts with solving a very complex puzzle with a large number of variables. Logistics and the necessary relation between hospital functions lead to a scheme of designated areas, that are then slowly frozen into a set design. During the conception of the Isala hospital scheme, parallel to talking about functions, the focus was from the start on how to experience the future building. Leading were questions like: How does a patient feel when he enters a hospital, what is needed to accommodate tranquillity and rest for a patient to deal with medical suffering? Can a corridor be more than just a corridor? How can we make an environment in which it is a pleasure to work?

Greenery would not be used to just fill areas that would otherwise had been been left empty, but would become an essential part of the building design. The main corridor connecting the four building blocks (butterflies) would become a street with trees and benches, to wait, to sit down after a visit of a treated relative, to gather beforehand, or to just take some time to look out into the garden with flowers and birds.

On the outside, the hospital shows itself as a rich and colorful building, not initially as a hospital. Windows seem to be accidentally placed but in fact neatly composed. The window frames in colours of the rainbow in combination with a number of different materials do not give the building one colour: the building becomes colour.

The building is embedded in a comfortable surrounding of landscape with footpaths, ponds and benches. Above the slanted facades, shapes of recessed “installation attics” protrude into the air. The atriums with lush greenery being the centres of the butterflies, have impressive glazed roofs with beautiful wooden trusses. The glazed entrance hall and copper canopies welcome visitors.

From the central parking area, the hospital exposes itself even more exuberant. The high butterfly cores with stairs and elevators are held together by a large sloping curtain wall, behind which the servicing corridors provide horizontal building connections. The curtain walls are made up from glass and brightly colored glass panels. Under the curtain walling and protruding forward with a grass and herbs roof is the above main corridor, linking the entrance hall with the butterfly staircases.

Check out Isala’s ‘trailer’ of the hospital: YouTube Impression of Isala and / or the 3D tour:

360º panorama Isala Zwolle

Total area: 104.000 m²