Hospital facility on the Viviers site in Gilly, Charleroi (Belgium)
50°25’10.48″N, 4°29’35.11″E
108.000 m² ; abords 17 ha ;  2013 ; (01/607).
Open competition

Services Performed:
  • Environement.
  • Landscaping.
  • Urban design.
  • Hospital planning.
  • Architecture
  • Interior design.
  • Structural engineering.
  • Building services engineering.
  • Sanitation of soil.
  • Conceptual energy plan and environment plan.
  • Cost control.
  • Coordination and planification of works in case of separated lots.

The site

Given the high gradients of the site, the project has to include a great restructuring of the site whilst taking in account the uncertainties linked to the sanitary state of the soil. Based on the available data, no discharge of soil nor damages to the phreatic table will be done.

The project is shaped as a ‘hospital village’ placed on a vast horizontal plateau. It is perfectly oriented according to the cardinal axis so as to ensure maximum daylight provision and a natural protection against solar rays. The overall structure is part of a large quadrilateral.

The ‘hotel’ function is shared throughout three ‘H’ shaped buildings built on piles. Each of them is composed of five levels with two care units each. The large space between the wings provides the patients with an abundant natural light and with a pleasant sight of the wide panorama of Charleroi. This comfort is yet another advantage of the general system where patients’ rooms are equipped with an extra bed for the accompanying person: intimacy for the patient, psychological support for the patient, easy communication between the nursing staff and the families, lower infection risk between patients, shortened transfers, higher attendance in bedrooms due to better patients’ compatibility, réduction du besoin en salles d’examen, etc.

The zones filled with protected varieties of trees (non deciduous pinewoods of Austria) are mainly located in the northern and western zones of the site. They are preserved and separated from the habitations of the new complex.

The vegetal architecture completes the overall composition. Lining up of high stem trees guide car drivers between the mounds of recycled soil filled with groups of free shaped trees.

This calm atmosphere is reinforced by the dominating south-eastern winds which “push away” the noises of the northern and eastern roads and highroads from the buildings. The site remains a place for promenade with a nice landscape and the Terrils path (GR 412) is preserved as well at its sightseeing points.

The circulations

A large covered walking path goes through the village from East to West. In the southern zone, it distributes all of the hotel functions and in the northern zone, the outpatient’s hospital, the hot-floor and the logistic zone. Acting as a true urban itinerary, the walking path makes the transition between spaces of different scales and types: wooden patios, footbridges, esplanades, shadowed or lightened zones, resting or shopping areas, refreshment areas, playgrounds for children, etc. The underground logistic corridor follows the exact same path and acts as dividing line between private and public flows.

In the North, between the village and the highroad, three large silos for hors-sol cars offer a total of 1 842 parking places all protected from the rain, naturally lightened and ventilated.

The pedestrians access to the covered walking path via a public place located in the East and overhanging the future metro station to which it will give access. A footpath also connects the RAVeL to this esplanade.

In the South, another zone welcomes the visitors which come by car. As for the north-western and southern entrances, they are connected to the Ferme’s footpath and to the rue de l’Observatoire for the pedestrians, cyclists and the firemen.

Flexibility of the hospital’s organization

The depth of all the buildings is calculated so as to allow natural ventilation and lightning on most premises: the care units or the outpatient’s hospital, a part of the hot-floor or of the logistics and production zones. Indeed, artificial lightning highly affects the energetic scale.

The structure is built in an entirely modular and repetitive manner whilst seeking for the best balance between the span and the costs of the floors. This modularity guarantees a great flexibilty for an eventual modification of the partition.  In the phasage, the settlement is composed of extension zones (or for renovation on a long term basis) in the northern part of the main street for the outpatient’s hospital, for the hot-floor and/or the logistic and production zone so as to allow works to be achieved with no damages for the general infrastructure and no constrain on the use of the existing buildings. In the South, the extension of the care units is also planned for complementary services to be installed without diminishing the quality of the prospects.

The highest level of standardization is sought for the materials and equipments. Indeed, the quality of life in the buildings highly depends on the quality of the spaces.

The hospital “layers” model

The division of the functions within the separated and autonomous structures allows an efficient management of the different life cycles for each structure. It also generates a clear and differentiated distribution of the flows (patients, visitors, hospital staff and logistics).

Indeed, the demand for cares as well as the medical theories and technologies, evolve faster than the financial and technical capacities of hospitals’ renovations. Financial means have a general tendency to diminish. This is why flexibility and savings shall become the genes of a hospital “layers” concept. In such a model, the size and the location of each function are rationalized so as to allow future transformations (imposed by the requirements of evolution) to be as cheap as possible.

The power house

The power house adjoins the logistic corridor. It is located in the centre of the village just down South to the hot-floor which is the biggest consumer. This central position results in an optimum lengths and sections of the distribution system as well as a comfortable access from the logistic corridor in case of the assembly and replacement of the equipment. The regroupement of the power house has other advantages such as the ability: to apply a simultaneity coefficient on the global power needs, to limit the costs implied by the recurrence of power producing equipments and to improve the possibilities for the salvage of heat and cold between the different systems.

The air-handling units

The air-handling units are regularly shared so as to limit to strict minimum the route of the air ducts.


Architecture and Engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS All projects are designed by Philippe Samyn who also supervises every drawing
Structural Engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS with SETESCO (sister company 1986-2006) or INGENIEURSBUREAU MEIJER (sister company 2007 – 2015) if not mentioned
Services engineering: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS with FTI (sister company since 1989) if not mentioned

Client: Grand Hôpital de Charleroi, Rue de la Duchère, 6 at B-6060 Gilly, Charleroi, Belgium
Architecture: Legal representative “for technical and current affairs”: Philippe SAMYN and PARTNERS sprl, architects & engineers. Design Partner: Philippe Samyn. Partner in charge: Quentin STEYAERT, Denis MELOTTE. Associates: Laura BARBARITO, Ghislain ANDRE,  Manuela BELOVA,  Benedetto CALCAGNO,  Mariuca CALIN, Alejandro CHICHIZOLA, Antoine COLBACK, Thierry HENRARD, Giulia LARIZZA,  Elodie NOORBERGEN, Sonia STICCHI, Eline VANDEVENNE. Substitute representative “for technical and current affairs”: Archi-2000 sprl, architectes Partner, Manager:Philippe Verdussen Partner: Thierry Descheemaecker
Structure: Sttructural engineering: « Ingenieursbureau Meijer bvba + Bureau d’Etudes Pirnay sa », joint venture Ingenieursbureau Meijer bvba Jan MEIJER, Philippe SAMYN Bureau d’Etudes Pirnay sa Jean-Sébastien PIRNAY
Services: Urban design: Agora sa Paul PLAK, François-Xavier VAN MAELE Soil remediation: RSK Benelux bvba Noureddine EL HALIMI Hospital planning: Paul Wurth Geprolux sa and H. Limacher Partners ag Jasques MARGUE, Heinrich LIMACHER White rooms planning: Foster and Wheeler Italiana srl Marco BOLOGNINI, Paola GRISETTI Building services, MEP, Building physics and internal climate: « Felgen et Associés Engineering sa + Flow Transfer International sa + Istema nv », joint venture Felgen et Associés Engineering sa Marc JUNCKER, Pierre COIBION, Marco WEBER, Walter SCHMITZ Flow Transfer International sa Andrew JANSSENS, Philippe SAMYN, Piet DELAGAYE Istema  nv Piet DELAGAYE Cost control and operating costs study: Bureau Michel Forgue sarl Michel FORGUE, Elie DURANT Consulting on hospital processes and operating costs study: Henny van Laarhoven (Orbis Medisch en Zorgconcern) Sustainable design and operating costs study: Symbios’IN sarl Bertrand THULLIER

Document E41_01/607 -En Issue of 2013-05-15


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