Jessa hospital: winning competition design

We are honoured to announce that Robbrecht en Daem architecten, together with Osar architects, has won the design competition for the new Jessa hospital in Hasselt, Belgium. The design is driven by a renewed search for the human scale of the hospital.

In this search a contradictory question arises: how can a hospital with an immense surface area (135,000 m2) achieve the necessary small scale and humanity through its architecture? Our response is not to put 'the patient' at its centre, but rather 'the patients'. We made a fundamental distinction between three different care profiles and gave each of them their own architectural and landscape design, resulting in the Panorama Wing, the Park Wing and the Medical Technology Centre.

Longer hospital stays and treatments involve morals, expectations and perspectives that are different from short stays. They require a completely distinct setting, rather than just another floor with different medical equipment.

Unlike the views from the Panorama Wing or the winter gardens on each floor, the Park Wing, organised around patio gardens, provides views and access to a more intense, stimulating natural environment and to a full-fledged tree park.

The human scale is not only sought from within, but also at the level of the wider surroundings. For instance, by avoiding traffic through the site, we want to connect cycling and walking networks and offer space for everyone (from passers-by to patients, employees, visitors...) to be able to relax in green surroundings.

Precisely by partially elevating the hospital in the Panorama Wing, green space is generously kept free, allowing the landscape to have a prominent role in the design. The building makes way for open space and becomes an instrument for experiencing it. In addition to the new health campus, the Salvator Plus site – which is being developed into a high-quality forest park – is also part of the assignment.


The design team: Osar architects - Robbrecht en Daem architecten - Blauwdruk stedenbouw - LAMA landscape architects - Tractebel - Transport & Mobility Leuven