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Reynaers helps achieve patient-centred design of AZ Sint Maarten hospital

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Reynaers helps achieve patient-centred design of AZ Sint Maarten hospital

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The AZ Sint Maarten hospital was a decade-long project aiming to incorporate three separate hospital campuses into one building that is designed to cater to patient comfort, promote sustainability and integrate seamlessly within the surrounding landscape. Working closely with the project design team, Reynaers helped tailor a brise soleil envelope for solar protection and provided glass surfaces that guarantee the highest level of thermal insulation and natural sunlight.

Located in Michelen, Belgium the AZ Sint Maarten project was run by VK Architects and Engineers after winning a 2007 architecture competition to work on the regional hospital. Drawing inspiration from the green space surrounding the site, the compact building was strategically designed to include a specific orientation, materials, volumetrics and accessibility to flow within the landscape.

Comprising of 654 inpatient beds, 96 outpatient beds and an ample consultation area, the focus for VK Architects was to ensure the comfort and privacy of future patients, which informed the building’s ergonomics, environment and safety features. A multitude of glass surfaces were used to provide patients with continuous visual contact with the world outside. Reynaers’ CS 77-HI windows were specified, as they offer the highest performance and thermal insulation, in full compliance with Belgian standards.

Sustainability was also a priority for the AZ Sint Maarten building. The focus on keeping spaces compact yet comfortable has resulted in less building envelope being needed per square meter, thus reducing the construction costs and energy loss in the long term. A waving brise soleil envelope was designed as a second skin for the building, offering solar protection for patients and personnel and introducing a playful, delicate element to the building.

Following research into form, inclination and a building simulation model to monitor thermal comfort in patient rooms, VK Architects and Engineers created this unique brise soleil solution by using curved lamellas. When it came to making the design a reality, Reynaers worked closely with the contractor, MBG to tailor the existing BS 100 system to fit the project’s needs. The end solution includes no less that 63,000 metres of profiles, creating a ‘skin’ for the building that adapts to the façade orientation. For instance, smaller distances between slats were used in the west and the east due to the lower position of the sun, compared to the south where the position of the sun is higher.

Commenting on the collaboration with Reynaers, Erik Vereecken, Project Director Healthcare at VK Architects & Engineers said: ‘One of the key elements in this project was the wind tunnel test to verify the overall resistance to wind loads and acoustical impact. This test convinced everybody of the quality of the technical solution provided by Reynaers’.

Another unique element of AZ Sint Maarten is the fact that the project was an early adopter of BIM (Building Information Management) in 2010. Being able to make use of 3D modelling has meant that aspects such as airflow and mechanical and thermal simulations were evaluated and optimised long before construction began.

A video showcase of the AZ Sint Maarten project is available here: https://www.reynaers.co.uk/en-UK/inspiration/aluminium-project-references/az-sint-maarten.

Further details are available from: Reynaers Aluminium Limited, Tel: 0121 421 1999, or email: reynaersltd@reynaers.com, website: www.reynaers.co.uk.

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