As the recipient of both the Public Choice Award and the Jury Prize, the Erasmus MC is the big winner of the RAP2018. Rotterdam, the architecture capital of the Netherlands, selected the Erasmus MC by EGM architects as the year’s best building.
The festive award ceremony took place on 19 December 2018 in the main reception room of Rotterdam City Hall. Alderman for construction and housing Bas Kurvers presented the Public Choice Award on behalf of the people of Rotterdam, before jury chairman Samir Bantal, director of AMO, announced the winner of the Jury Prize.
The jury essay describes the Erasmus MC as:
… an unrivalled project when it comes to concentrating experties and architecture. The architectural equivalent of open heart surgery.
In recent years Rotterdam has grown to become the country’s leading city of architecture, a place where new buildings are designed with care, attention and guts. This new development has resulted in a small medical city that is home every day to 13,500 employees, 4,500 students and thousands of patients and visitors. Besides the primary medical function of the centre, the Erasmus MC fulfils an important economic role for Rotterdam.
With strong commitment and tremendous courage, the Erasmus MC has laid the foundations for the ultimate university medical centre of the 21st century, where architecture, interior and landscape define a new standard for the concept of the Healthy Building. The new Erasmus MC thus fits easily into the series of icons that have enhanced the city in recent years.
People entering the new Erasmus MC for the first time are pleasantly surprised by the stylish entrance area, which does not feel like a hospital. Here the concept of a Healthy Building is already apparent and continues throughout the new development for the benefit of visitors, staff and patients. Tall ceilings, plenty of daylight, greenery and inviting seats create a vibrant meeting area, while more intimately designed atriums offer a sense of tranquillity. Anchoring points such as reception desks, works of art, views of the city and seating clusters help visitors orient themselves inside the building.
Based on an underlying layout that is as logical as it is effective, the design of the complex is sleek, functional and carefully thought through. The central connecting axis forms the public spine of the complex and links existing and new buildings for care, education and research. The concept of a Healthy Building is perhaps most clearly apparent in the single patient rooms that offer plenty of privacy, autonomy and tranquillity. Here the concept has been elaborated right down to the design of the curtains.
The public attaches great importance to the spatial perception of the Erasmus MC and the principles of a healing environment that underpin it. Comments include:
Entering the building feels like being wrapped in a warm blanket of light and beauty, giving people some hope and support at a moment of loss, tension and sadness.
Another voter writes: “Patients here are given the space to feel human again.” Moreover, there is widespread appreciation for the plentiful greenery. “The roof gardens are refreshing and relaxing for both staff and patients. A welcome respite from the daily grind of hospital life.”
Twenty years ago EGM Architects and the university hospital first started to discuss the new medical centre, which was festively opened last September by King Willem-Alexander. Since then, the Erasmus MC has received numerous prizes and nominations for features such as the prominent role of daylight and the inclusion of rooftop greenery. The Rotterdam Architecture Prize is an initiative of the City of Rotterdam and is awarded to the team of client, architect and contractor of the best building in Rotterdam.
The photo shows the winning team, with from left: Bas Kurvers (alderman for Construction and Housing), Rob Niessen (EGM Architects), Fred Reurings (Bouwcombinatie nieuwbouw Erasmus MC), Menno Riemersma (Erasmus MC), Willemineke Hammer (EGM Architects), Liesbeth van Heel (Erasmus MC), Cor Geluk (Juurlink + Geluk) and Bas Molenaar (EGM Architects).