Stavros Niarchos Foundation Hospitals Initiative

Komotini, Thessaloniki, Sparta | Greece


Komotini, Thessaloniki, Sparta
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Architectural design
RPBW Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Amount of works
Komotini General Hospital €74,700,000, Thessaloniki Children's Hospital €100,750,000, Sparta General Hospital €64,000,000
Services Provided
Structure design
Komotini General Hospital 30,200 sq. m., Thessaloniki Children's Hospital 80,300 sq. m., Sparta General Hospital 22,000 sq. m.
Construction technique
reinforced concrete, glued laminated timber, X-Lam, steel

A health project in Greece

Stavros Niarchos Foundation commissioned Arch. Renzo Piano to design three new health care facilities for the Greek National Health System. They are two general hospitals, in Komotini and Sparta, and a new university children's hospital in Thessaloniki, designed with wooden structures, glulam columns and beams supporting X-Lam floors.

The initiative of the philanthropic organization SNF, which funds projects in the fields of art, culture, education, health and social welfare, will enable, thanks to a memorandum of understanding signed with the Greek government, the health system to be implemented with three modern facilities built with very high criteria of efficiency, sustainability and innovation.

Komotini General Hospital
Thessaloniki Children's Hospital
Sparta General Hospital

Komotini General Hospital

The new facility will meet the needs of the residents of East Macedonia and Thrace, allowing the decommissioning of the old hospital, among the oldest in the country. The design harmonizes the treatment areas with the natural environment. The ground floor is concrete, the first and second floors are wood, with glulam columns and beams supporting cross-laminated timber (CLT) floors. The photovoltaic canopy shading the roof and facades are made of steel. In addition to the photovoltaic panels, 30 km of geothermal wells have been provided, ensuring the total sustenance of the building for heating and cooling.

Thessaloniki Children's Hospital

The hospital, a few kilometers from the city center, is the first public pediatric facility outside Attica serving northern Greece.
The building has 5 levels. The basement, ground, and first floors are concrete.
The second and third floors are wooden, with glulam columns and beams supporting CLT floors. The photovoltaic canopy, with a shading function, and the facades, are steel. The project is prepared to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Thessaloniki Children's Hospital

Sparta General Hospital

The new health care facility is inclusive, and will make quality medicine available to all. Key aspects of the design include the natural element, which is fundamental to patient care and the well-being of the staff who experience the spaces on a daily basis. The hospital is totally surrounded by the vegetation of the Peloponnesian hills.
The structure is characterized by a single volume, arranged parallel to the existing hospital, which has six levels, three of which are underground.
The hospital takes advantage of the roof to generate electricity from renewable sources by installing photovoltaic panels.

The therapeutic role of nature

All three projects share a people-centered approach and a constant focus on the natural environment in which they are integrated through careful use of renewable energy resources and principles of energy and social sustainability. The use of light and natural ventilation find application both in public spaces and in the inpatient rooms. As in the Asklepeion, the healing temple of ancient Greece, nature plays a therapeutic role in the patient's rehabilitation process. The facilities are totally immersed in nature to foster a peaceful and relaxing environment for patients and their families, but also for doctors, nurses and all staff.

High seismic resistance, durability and sustainability

From a technological point of view, three basic concepts have been established: high seismic resistance, durability and sustainability. The use of wood to build above-ground structures ensures compliance with the three principles. Wood is strong, durable and above all lightweight, which is the most important quality for an earthquake-resistant structure.
The building system consists of pillars and double glulam beams, to which walkable decks made of X-lam panels are applied. Seismic stiffness and sound insulation are provided by a concrete hood cast over the floors.

The production of wooden structural elements is done in the factory through numerical cutting to achieve a high level of precision and excellent production speed.
X-lam slabs are composed of five layers of wood with a total thickness of 200 mm. The layers are glued by a dry process.
Structural elements are assembled in place with concealed joints, screws and bolts.
Although wood is known to be a combustible material, it actually retains high fire resistance and is less vulnerable than steel structures or reinforced concrete.
Wooden structures rarely contribute to the spread of fire, rather they suffer the consequences.
During a fire, the wood burns slowly, from the outside in, and the part not yet charred remains mechanically efficient. Its breaking
occurs when the uncarbonated section shrinks to the point that it can no longer support loads.
Therefore, the carbonization process depends on the original section of wood.
The stability of wooden beams is verified according to Eurocode 5: "Design of wooden structures." Wood burns at about 0.6 mm/min, so if a beam is to meet fire resistance class R60, its structural thickness must be increased by about 36 mm.
UV light and moisture are harmful to wood because they transform one of its main components, lignin, into a water-soluble substance. Moisture also dilutes lignin and causes the wood to graying and bacteria to grow.
To prevent the sun and moisture from penetrating the wood, it is important to use physical filters, which block water and UV rays.
In addition, wood can be preserved from mold, algae and the attack of xylophagous insects that feed on woody substances by adding additives with specific active ingredients to the impregnating primer. The products used are suitable for hospital spaces as they are PMC certified. The finish used on the interior is a transparent water-based paint effective in inhibiting the proliferation of bacteria through the activation of silver ions in combination with a washable film that is particularly resistant to washing and the application of disinfectants commonly used in medical environments.

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