Fact FileTypology: Healthcare
Location: Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh
Client: Project Implementation Unit -2, PWD Bhopal
Site Area: 38 Acres
Built-Up Area: 151,768 sqm
Photographer: Kapil Kamra
Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal is one of the oldest in the country, dating back to the 18th-century Fatehgarh Fort premises, located on the banks of the Grand Lake. Over the centuries, the complex has expanded to accommodate the changing, multidisciplinary healthcare needs of the ever-growing city.
As the country’s healthcare sector seeks avenues for smart development in medical facilities, healthcare architecture is being reimagined to not only take care of the ailing but also contribute to the collective healthcare of the citizens. The Hamidia Hospital Complex has been redeveloped into a world-class health centre through improved facilities, better education on health matters and enhanced access to regular healthcare services.
Envisioning a Smart Medi-CityDeveloping a Medi-City takes a holistic approach for addressing the entire hospital complex rather than a singular building. This strategy is realised through two means:
Shared Infrastructure Development- Designing the complex as an extension of the city: The historically fortified complex no longer needs to be a walled urban element detached from the city but rather be a seamless part of it. The Grand Lake and the lakefront, which were separated from the surroundings by the Fort’s imposing walls for a long time, must be brought back to the city and its people. To achieve this, the master plan opens the roads running into the complex to make the lakefront a large continuous public space, thereby creating a public space network as a major structuring element for the new master plan of the Fort complex.
Encouraging the Development of a City-Within-A-City: The Hamidia Medi-City contains its own functional districts, public spaces, and a hierarchy of streets that encourage an environment-friendly living through the following:
- An extensive layout of pedestrian and cycle routes that encourage walking and cycling.
- Maximised greenery and open spaces to encourage the natural landscape to become an integral part of the public realm.
- Reduction of pollution in the environment through extensive plantation, which helps in the absorption of pollutants, thereby keeping the air fresh and the local climate under control.
- Blurring boundaries between the interior and exterior spaces and creating recreational spaces at different levels to encourage outdoor activities.
- Encouraging nature as a healing element within the urban landscape.
Our design approach attempts to bind the entire complex through a definite grammar, using development as a tool for conservation. The primary challenge was to curate a development model that prolongs the useful life of the otherwise nearly obsolete complex without greatly altering its cultural fabric.
Principal Designer Dikshu C Kukreja
Redefining Medical Infrastructure as Quintessential Building Blocks of a Healthy CityThe Hamidia Hospital Complex is imagined as more than an urban infrastructure that serves the ailing; it is designed as an urban unit that also exemplifies healthy living conditions within the city. Such design measures include:
- Compact Development to keep the building’s footprint as low as possible, and leaving maximum ground as a soft landscape.
- Incorporating passive design to minimise air-conditioning and other artificial mechanical controls, which often cause the ‘sick-building syndrome.’
- Using non-polluting and non-hazardous building materials for construction so as to cause minimum damage to the environment.
- Formulating urban design guidelines that ensure continued maintenance of the public spaces.
Designing the Complex as an Amalgamation of Nature and Engineered TechnologiesThe geographical setting of the complex plays a crucial role in defining the sustainability parameters of the Smart Medi-City. In response to the context, the design uses the existing social and environmental systems as major structuring elements on site. This is further reinforced with engineered technologies to allow the architecture of the complex to maximise its performance. In doing so, its design celebrates the fusion between natural and man-made technologies — a much-desired binary which the future of sustainable architecture beckons.
While the heritage structures were given new life through retrofitting and adaptive reuse, both the new and old structures are infused with state-of-the-art technology to serve the coming generations. The design also seeks contemporary metaphors for the age-old architectural details so as to blend them effortlessly into the modern, smart architectural vocabulary.
The Hamidia Medi-City exists amidst an urban fabric that spans a wide time frame, with various social characteristics and cultural ethos defining the complex’s morphology and its transformations. With the latest developments and rethinking of the historical structures, Hamidia is serving not only Bhopal’s population but also the surrounding towns and villages. The project hereby throws light on one of the most difficult concerns in the contemporary urbanisation of Indian cities, which deals with incorporating modern infrastructure in a timeless urban landscape composed of multiple layers of culture.