"Sammy Ofer heart building" - The "beating heart" of Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center -part 1 / 30/08/2011

"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone"
Hippocratic Oath (Hippocrates, 377-460 BC)

The new cardiology building, festively inaugurated by the Israeli President Mr. Shimon Peres in November 2010, is a revolutionary international breakthrough in the design of medical institutes. The new building places the patient and his needs, as well as his relatives and the medical and nursing staff, at the center of the architectonic endeavor. The new building, which sprawls over 54,000 sq.m. and is 70m high.  It consists of 17 floors in total-including 4 basement floors (partially convertible into a wartime hospital to accommodate 700 hospital beds during emergencies and routinely serving as a parking lot, including 12 medical floors built above the parking lot underground levels.
The budget estimation of the building is about 100 million dollars.

The design process started in 2006 – presenting many different alternatives until the main concept of the "Sammy Offer Heart Building" was invented- that is -to connect the new & the old. The new Cardiology building with the old historical Bauhaus building. Thus the main connecting atrium was born together with the dramatic iconic red bridges.

Construction has started in 2007  until the opening ceremony in November 2010.  Most of the cardiology departments are functioning – up to level +3. We are now completing the construction of levels +4, +5 & +6. Levels +7 up to +10 will be left empty for future programs.

The new cardiology building was designed by Sharon Architects- Arad Sharon AA. Dipl. & Sharon Gur Ze'ev In partnership with Ranni Ziss Architects. This avant-garde building is as a strong monolithic cube clad with special climactic glass. It is situated parallel to the old historical Ichilov Building designed in the international "Bauhaus" style in the 1960s by architect Arieh Sharon- the "father of Israeli Architecture & the founder of the Sharon Architectural office.

Along with the white austerity typical of hospitals in the past, all the medical center's cardiac departments were concentrated in this transparent building: cardiac outpatient clinics, cardiac intensive care units and intermediate care, cardiovascular surgery together with one of the most advanced cardiac catheterization departments, cardiac rehabilitation and non-invasive cardiac clinics. This glass-clad building provides a high level of visibility and optimally connects the patients to the outdoors. Patients also enjoy spacious two-bed and one-bed hospital rooms of a very high hotel standard. Special attention was paid to ensure that the catheterization and emergency wards would be connected to the outdoors and exposed to natural light, which is conducive to the healing process. The "white" color, symbolizing Tel Aviv also known as the "White City" as well as being associated with medical hygiene, will return as a dominant color in the new building's interior design. Dominant colors such as red, yellow and orange will be incorporated in the white areas to create a sense of liveliness and joy.
The color red –became an important iconic emblem in the architectural language of the building: from the urban scale of "the heart chambers" in the facades, Through the red bridges that float like blood vessels in the main atrium space' the entrance to all the hospitalization rooms and down to the scale of the red glass visitors lifts- a real promenade of vertical movement in the red flying box..
All the walls in the interior of the main entrance floors were cladded in white glass- a design devise both elegant and inviting.

The new building expresses the delicate balance between architecture and medicine. It also manifests the ability of optimal architecture to be creative and inspiring, while at the same considerate of the emotional experience of patients and staff. This architecture significantly eases the suffering that the patient and his family undergo, without exhibiting the trendy need to pretend to be another kind of building (such as a hotel, bank, etc. ).
The "Sammy Ofer Heart Building" is the only medical building in the country without a fence! The building is accessible directly from the main street to the public that can enjoy various "healthy" activities –drinking coffee or listening to a concert in the orange concert –hall.

The main idea was to "resuscitate" the old Bauhaus building by planning a public atrium that will connect the new cardiology building with the historical Ichilov building. The creation of a contextual and physical connection between the buildings enables expanding the floor area of the cardiology building (3000 sq.m.) with an additional 1200 sq.m. - The floor area of the historical Ichilov building.

Resembling blood vessels, red bridges will float in the atrium space, leading visitors to waiting galleries that will be placed one in front of the other, generating figurative tension - in the two buildings located one in opposition to the other. The old Ichilov building will be renovated and returned to its old glorious days. The atrium providing the connection will include commercial areas, landscape healing gardens and spacious and inviting waiting areas. Artistic elements will be incorporated in the area as well, including music and water elements, as studies show that music raises Endorphin and Cortisol levels and thereby reduces anxiety and helps patients cope with pain.

The cardiology building is the only building in the country that was designed without putting up fences.  The building itself is adjacent and parallel to Weizman Street- a major and important thoroughfare. A ecological pool of water separates the building and the new square. A municipal gallery, two floors high, with prominent Tel Aviv characteristics, was planned together with a new, wide public square separating the new building and the road.

The square, paved with ipea wood, will feature floor lighting, shaded and sitting places, artwork and an option to sit outside in the coffee house located outside the gallery.

Coffee houses, commercial areas, a theater doubling up as a small lecture hall were located in the municipal gallery - each one of these functions was planned with a unique morphology and colorful aluminum envelope.

The municipal gallery and the public square serve as meeting places between "healthy" visitors and patients and medical and nursing staff.

Red-glass windows were placed in the glass fa?ade of the building, resembling heart chambers. These elements render the "barcode" patterned creating a happy fa?ade , unique and attractive and a Tel Aviv icon. The unique building stands out and can be seen from passing airplanes and adds another unique element to the rapidly evolving Tel Aviv medical center. 

The Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center is characterized by uncompromising urban strength. The cardiology building fits well into the Gothic texture of styles characteristic of different periods in the development of the campus: from the modernistic, international Bauhaus style designed by Architect Arieh Sharon, to the Brutalism style of the Sourasky "mega- form" buildings with their bare concrete-clad exteriors and precast brise-soleils characterizing the architecture of Eldar Sharon, and finally the glass and aluminum buildings incorporating strong and vivid colors characteristic of the architectonic style of Arad Sharon, an AA graduate, who has been running the Sharon Architects firm for the past 17 years.

The new cardiology building in the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center is also a part of a renaissance-like architectural competition among the major Israeli medical centers:  Ichilov, Tel Hashomer and Beilinson. The ones benefiting most from this competition are the patients who now enjoy far more pleasant and inviting hospital wards and spaces.

The architecture of the new cardiology building – as opposed to typical hospital architecture in the past – is flexible and provides optimal space for future advancements in medicine, a field where progress and development is far more rapid than that of architecture.

The new building is an elastic, environmentally-friendly monolith that is prepared for the changes that will be made in the course of time.  Four floors were left unplanned (non-functional – left only as a frame and envelope) with the intention to address future and "unknown" advancements in medicine. The monolith ensures that architectonic heterogeneity will be maintained and any future additions will not harm the unique coherence of the building's  solid  architectural concept (preventing infinite expansion).

Healing gardens and herb gardens for the benefit of the public will surround the building on all sides and will also be included in interior spaces.