Neumünster Hospital at Zollikerberg was built by the Zurich architects Otto and Werner Pfister between 1931 and 1933. The complex houses the hospital, a nurses? residence, personnel and training rooms and a chapel. On account of the topography and the extensive, open grounds, the architects decided to enclose the site within a meandering four-story complex divided into three distinct sections: the park on the south side, the point-symmetrical main courtyard on the north-west side, and the supply unit with delivery entrance and annexes on the north-east side. All wings feature the same building type with double-loaded corridors and a clear functional arrangement: patients' rooms and community spaces face the park while service rooms are on the north side. The quality of the existing facilities derives more from the overall situational concept than from the interior design.
The new west wing was required to have the same dimensions as the old building. Due to the shallow plan depth, the existing double-loaded typology was once again adopted. To enhance design flexibility, a spacious column arrangement was chosen that is able to accommodate the therapy unit on the ground floor.
Rhythm and light are employed in the design of the interior circulation zones to provide identity and ori-entation. The floor plan of the two-bedded rooms marks out the different areas: entrance zone, each patient's individual space, common area and exterior space. The beds are placed at right angles to al-low both patients direct contact with the outdoors; the common sitting area is designed as a bay window with glass on two sides that opens up completely onto the park. The set-back veranda forms a sheltered area in which one can sit outside.
Although the one-bedded rooms are more spacious, the furniture arrangement still appears anything but random. The result is a truly "livable" space designed to meet patients' needs. Just as much attention has also been lavished on the nursing and care aspects, be it in the operational organization, the high quality of the work spaces, or the installation of the appropriate infrastructure.
The south facade of the in-patient floors reflects the specific use of the rooms behind it. The volumetri-cally staggered design increases the sculptural effect and underlines the architectural order of the four-story wing. The base has a smooth facade; despite the steps in the plane of the facade, the middle sec-tion reads as a uniform entity. The wing is topped by a penthouse story, in contrast to the gable and hipped roofs of the other buildings. The facade facing the northern courtyard and entrance follows the same architectural principle, albeit with a flat outline in keeping with the flexible use of the ancillary nurs-ing zone.
On the ground floor the static structure and the vertical linear lighting of the circulation zone are visible from the hospital entrance, which gives the main courtyard a suitably individual atmosphere.
The new cafeteria is an extension of the middle section of the building at ground floor level. At the same time it provides a new entrance to the hospital from the park. The result of tight structural and financial constraints, the cafeteria exhibits a simple, clear spatial concept that exploits the advantages of its loca-tion as a quiet, brightly lit pavilion embedded in the parkland.
In realizing the new structure and the remodelled sections, care was taken to achieve a harmonious match with the materials of the existing buildings. Through its material composition, the building will radiate quality, individuality, and warmth, expressing both liveability and the elegant character of the hospital complex in a park setting.
Concrete, wood, glass and metal are left in their natural colors, complemented by white walls and ceil-ings to highlight reflected colors. The furnishings serve as a colorful counterpoint. While the colors and choice of materials are uniform, each individual zone is characterized by unique spatial design and light-ing.
In the northern part of the complex, a new obstetrics and neonatal unit is currently being designed for the gynecological clinic, along with a replacement for the existing surgical unit.
Silvia Gmür Reto Gmür
Eicher + Pauli/
Walter Dietsche Baumanagement
A. Bateira, A. Battistini,
D. Cadoni, F. Früh,
K. Kleinert, Ph. Müller,
Floor area (SIA 416):
Building volume (SIA 416):
29 822 m3
New building of West Wing
general surgical ward and private ward,
rehabilitation centre with therapy pool
Start of construction
Completion November 2011