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In Wuzhen, which is located one hundred kilometers to the south-west of Shanghai in the midst of one of China’s oldest cultivated areas, a rehabilitation clinic with the character of a hotel was built to a design by gmp, Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners. The project is jointly funded by German hospital operators and Chinese partners and, with its special medical and architectural standards, addresses the more demanding standards within the Chinese health market.
The establishment, which focuses on neurology and orthopedics, is located three kilometers outside the picturesque museum city of Wuzhen, one of the most favored tourist attractions in the country, in a landscape featuring many rivers and canals. With its ensemble of two- and three-story courtyard houses grouped around a central lake in an extensive park, the design reflects this specific regional theme of the “water city“.
The clinic is accessed via a prestigious reception building to the south-west of the site. Colonnades reaching the full height of the building mark the entrance to the foyer, which has been sumptuously designed with large ceiling panels and full-height glazing. The upper floor accommodates offices as well as a restaurant with outside terrace that provides guests with a view of the entire development. The neurology department to the east and the orthopedics department to the north are connected with the entrance hall via single-story link buildings. The treatment rooms and larger movement baths and gymnastics rooms are on the first floor, while the patient rooms are located on the two upper floors. The building ensemble is rounded off by two residential buildings for the clinic staff to the north, as well as a service building with canteen to the east, from where pathways lead along the canal to the open landscape.
The architectural character of the buildings is dominated by strongly contrasting materials, light and color. This is achieved on the outside by alternating dark façade panels with horizontally arranged terracotta elements and is enhanced by the play of light and shadow generated by the deeply recessed façades which, as natural solar screening, also significantly reduce the energy consumed for cooling in summer. On the inside, this theme continues in the interaction of neutral, bright and dark surfaces with the strong identifying colors of the specialist departments and the wood shades in the shared facilities.
The exterior features a lively sequence of promenades along the flowing landscaped river banks, with bridges and pathways, inviting patients to socialize and to take walks outdoors. The water resources of the surrounding landscape are utilized in a sustainable manner by recirculating the water with natural filtering.
The overarching aim of the design is defined by the interaction between the landscape and the building volumes with their offset layout – resulting in an atmospherically stimulating architecture that supports the rehabilitation of patients through its spatial diversity, well-designed landscaping and moderately sized buildings.
Location: Wuzhen, China
Area: 75,830 sqm
Design: Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz
Project leader, competition: Johann von Mansberg
Competition team: Philipp Buschmeyer, Christian Machnacki, Fernando Nassare
Project leaders, implementation: Niklas Veelken, Chen Yue, Kristin Schoyerer
Implementation team: Jan Deml, Yana Espanner, Maarten Harms, Bjoern Homann, Anna Jordan, Liu Yiangjao, Wang Yue, Wu Di, Xue Jing, Thilo Zehme, Zhou Bin