Safdie Architects Designs a Garden-Hospital in Cartagena, Colombia

The Serena del Mar Hospital Center (CHSM) is the first hospital designed by Safdie Architects. Focusing on the human being, the concept revolves around the idea that “access to nature and natural light are vital in creating improved therapeutic experiences for patients, families and staff alike”. Seeking to provide a sense of well-being that leads to better clinical outcomes, the hospital has started opening in phases to the public, earlier this year. The firm’s first project in Latin America is not the only one, in fact, Safdie Architects are working on Qorner, a residential project under construction in Quito, Ecuador, and the Albert Einstein Education and Research Center in Brazil, to be inaugurated in early 2022.

Cortesía de Serena del Mar
Cortesía de Serena del Mar

The hospital is part of a master plan for the El Gran Canal civic district, occupying a 1.41 square kilometer site on the east side of the regional highway within the Serena del Mar urban development. This new planned city, located on la costa del Caribe, north of Cartagena, and encompassing around 10 square kilometers, has been under construction since 2015, awaiting to be completed by 2030. The ambitious vision includes residential, cultural, health, educational, recreational, commercial, social, and infrastructure projects, among others.

© Ivan Ortiz
© Ivan Ortiz

A centerpiece of the master plan, at the gateway of the district, the Serena del Mar Hospital Center is considered to be the first full-service medical institution in Cartagena. Conceived as a garden hospital, it includes in its program, hospitalization and intensive care spaces for adults, children, and newborns, highly complex operating rooms, laboratories, outpatient clinics, image diagnosis, as well as radiotherapy for adults and children, and chemotherapy at the Cancer Institute. of the CHSM.

© Ivan Ortiz
© Ivan Ortiz

The design provides access to a wide variety of gardens throughout the entire building including a linear bamboo courtyard, a healing garden for cancer treatments, and a series of green spaces connected through a lakeside promenade. The facilities are located in five different wings. Conceived with shallow plant depth, the design enhances the experience of direct proximity to windows, natural light, and views of the lake, hills, gardens, and courtyards. Even in the areas of high operational efficiency such as emergency rooms, laboratories, and clinics, daylight and views of nature are maintained, creating an environment conducive to healing.

© Ivan Ortiz
© Ivan Ortiz

“Daylight and openness to the outside are essential for the feeling of well-being. In most hospitals, you are in an oppressive environment. You have no idea where you are, nor do you have light. We approached the hospital with two ideas in mind: on the one hand, that daylight is key and on the other, that gardens, patios and water are already places of healing. They give the hospital a completely different feel from any hospital I know. “- Moshe Safdie, founder of Safdie Architects.

© Ivan Ortiz
© Ivan Ortiz

The architecture of the hospital responds to the tropical climate of the Caribbean through the implementation of deep cantilevers, recessed windows, and motorized sliding shutters that mitigate the heat by filtering the abundant and harsh daylight while maximizing views and natural lighting.

“For the Hospital Center in Serena Del Mar, we wanted to create a new kind of hospital: highly efficient but inherently humane. We envisioned a space that provides an uplifting and healing environment, one that avoids the institutional anonymity often associated with hospitals. “- Sean Scensor, Partner at Safdie Architects

Client: Novus Civitas
Sponsors: Carlos and Sonia Haime Foundation, Haime Gutt Family
Operator: Santa Fe de Bogotá Foundation
Planning and Design Advisor: Johns Hopkins Medicine International
Design Architect: Safdie Architects
Medical Design Advisor: Tsoi Kobus
Engineering: BR + A, TYPSA
Signage: Two Twelve
Lighting: Lam Partners
Civil Engineering: Langan
Architect of Record: Condiseño
Exterior design: EDSA
Cost and Construction Manager: PAYC