The First People's Hospital

Designed for World Health

Improper food handling in an agricultural region. Inadequate health facilities. A rapidly spreading new disease. This is a recipe for a region in trouble. It’s also the catalyst that influenced our problem-solving design for the First People’s Hospital in Shunde, China. And since Shunde was deeply affected by the SARS epidemic in 2003, it was crucial to design a hospital with the latest in infection control measures. One that could handle a large influx of patients. And one that would maintain connections between the 2000-bed inpatient tower, acute care facility, outpatient facilities, cancer center, and medical research and infectious disease buildings. Using sustainable design strategies to optimize the hospital’s building performance was also a priority for our client, and a relatively new concept for the entire region’s medical centers.

Our team was awarded the contract for the First People’s Hospital through an international design competition. We were challenged with designing a hospital that combined Western healthcare innovations with local Chinese practices and integrated sustainable design strategies. Our solution organizes a series of buildings around a dynamic, curved spine to create an “eco-atrium” that has the capacity to handle 6,000 daily outpatient visits while minimizing infection risks. To address cooling needs for this hot and humid climate, air is dehumidified through natural ventilation, stack effect and chilled beams, vastly exceeding local energy regulations by more than 60 percent. Photovoltaic panels and solar fins reduce the hospital’s overall energy consumption, and an outdoor plaza celebrates Shunde’s tradition of waterways and terracotta manufacturing to create an open, green space that the entire community can use.