Articles

Sammy Ofer heart building – part 2 / 30/08/2011

1. The Architectural History of the Tel Aviv Medical Center
 The Tel Aviv Medical Center is urban in character, a "small medical city" within the city of Tel Aviv, serving a population of about one million living in the city and in the Greater Tel Aviv area. The medical center is located in downtown Tel Aviv, about 1 km from city hall.
 The very compact 80,000 sq.m. foot print of the Tel-Aviv urban campus calls for dense, multi-story construction to maximize the use of available space also allowing for some open piazzas, healing gardens etc.
 The Tel Aviv Medical Center presently has about 300,000 sq.m. built-up areas plus another 200,000 sq.m. of future building rights. The future construction is planned in two new medical towers. The existing Tel Aviv Medical Center is a 1200-bed facility, which began to be built in the 1960s, and to a large extent was constructed as a "Gothic cathedral". Three generations of the Sharon family Architects designed the medical center, creating a structural composition and a rich and variegated dialogue between my grandfather, Arieh Sharon – a graduate of the Bauhaus school of architecture, my father, Architect Eldar Sharon, Architect Arad Sharon- a graduate of the AA in London. Arieh Sharon, the father of Israeli architecture and recipient of the Israel Prize for Architecture (1960) was studying in the Bauhaus under the tutelage of Walter Gropius, one of the founders of modernism in architecture. My grandfather designed two Bauhaus-style buildings in the Tel Aviv Medical Center:  the old Ichilov building on the southwestern side of the campus (a building that is now connected by the red bridgesto the new Cardiology Tower); and he also designed the Nursing School and nurses living quarters on the northeastern side of the campus.
 Arieh Sharon's structurally-sprawling style made it possible to "lay claim" to the entire site of the medical center campus, thereby taking over the entire area for the medical buildings that were built in the course of 50 years.
 The old emergency room, north of the old Ichilov Hospital, was built in the 1960s. This building was demolished, for the Sammy Ofer Heart Center to be build in its place.
 My father, Architect Eldar Sharon, joined the firm as a partner in 1965.  In the 1970s he designed other buildings in the Tel Aviv Medical Center, including  the Sourasky Building, a megaform made up of eight identical buildings, each three stories high, separated from each other by a courtyard to let natural light and air into the interior spaces. Each of the buildings was designed with two patios, which unfortunately were closed over the years owing to a shortage of operational space.
 

 

 The architectural style of my father, Eldar Sharon, who was avant-garde for his time (the 1960s), was characterized by a geometric, brutalist style (use of raw bare concrete) and the strong sculptural character of the building envelope. Eldar Sharon designed and built the rehabilitation building on the east side of the campus, which we are now renovating and retrofitting to serve as children's clinics.
 My grandfather Arieh Sharon passed away in 1984, and my father Eldar Sharon passed away in 1994.
 In the past 17 years, Sharon Architects has designed and renovated many buildings in the Tel Aviv Medical Center under my management.
 The most prominent projects undertaken by the firm recently: the new 23,000 sq.m. ER building with seven medical floors and four underground parking floors, including an architecturally impressive main entrance building. The structure in fact surrounds the Sourasky buildings designed by my father. A public plaza is designed in the interim space between the entrance building and the commercial complex (not part of the medical center but accommodates about 2000 parking spaces for the use of the medical center). The entrance building was designed to serve various commercial functions, such as coffee shops, pharmacies and stores.
 Our firm designed a maternity complex consisting of about 15 birthing rooms (we are in the midst of designing an additional 10 birthing rooms), a neonatal department, two maternity wards, a women's emergency room and an IVF maternity ward.
 A system of operating theaters is now undergoing massive renovation and expansion.
 The Sammy Ofer Heart Building is designed to operatively connect with the surgery theaters wing of the medical center, one of the most advanced medical centers in Israel and in the world.
 Today, the medical center has 12 general operating theaters and 7 ambulatory operating theaters. When the center is finally completed, it will be equipped with another 15 general operating theaters and ten ambulatory operating theaters,  25 operating theaters in all, including one of the most sophisticated hybrid operating theaters in the world,  primarily designed for heart surgery involving cardiac catheterization and vascular surgery.
 Our firm has also recently designed a comprehensive imaging section that includes departments for MRI, CT, angiography and an advanced radiology institute. We have also planned a set of outpatient clinics belonging to the medical center with unique and inviting architectonic qualities.
 Upon completing the design of the Sammy Ofer Heart Building that our firm design in partnership with Ranni Ziss Architects, the Tel Aviv Medical Center became the most advanced and leading medical center in the country and internationally acclaimed. Visitors from all over the world come to the new Sammy Ofer Heat Building and tours are conducted daily.
 

 The influence of the studies of Architect Arad Sharon, a graduate of the Architectural  London School of Architecture (AA), is discernible in the architectural style of the new buildings. These are dynamic, people-friendly buildings, progressive in appearance. Use is made of vibrant and impressive strong  colors as well as contemporary materials, such as metals, ceramic-printed glass and the incorporation of flower gardens and healing gardens for the benefit of the public.
 The unique vision that inspired the three generations of the Sharon family of architects, each putting their own indelible stamp on the medical center since its establishment in the 1950s until today, can be summarized as follows:
1.  Efficient functional planning from systemic, operational and maintenance perspectives while incorporating architectural solutions for the benefit of the users: the patient, his family and those accompanying him, the medical and nursing staff. Iconic "happy" architecture which also provides solutions to climatic and micro-climatic conditions, incorporating pergolas to provide shade, patio courtyards, fa?ade shading systems and creating air-conditioned atriums that include medical functions. The Sammy Ofer Heart Center-is a medical building with architectural qualities that can easily be associated with other public buildings:  such as libraries, museums, etc. This building puts Hospital Architecture on the map of the best quality architectural endeavor.
2. Special emphasis was placed on creating positive and progressive architecture incorporating open spaces and healing gardens, which play a central, holistic role in the patient's recovery processes. In designing the buildings, open areas and landscape views were incorporated in  plazas, spice and healing gardens, clinics, artwork, music and connection with the outdoors through curtain walls (the Sammy Ofer Heart Center) to create a tranquil, pleasant-smelling and recovery-conducive atmosphere.