the restoration and potential upgrades to existing public hospitals
Within the context of COVID-19, public hospitals began to play an important role in ensuring access to healthcare to the majority of South Africans. The world began to question whether the often old and outdated design and layout of public hospitals would be able to accommodate the fast influx of patients within a pandemic or natural disaster.
The site of the Groote Schuur Hospital precinct represents a timeline of the evolution of healthcare architecture, ranging from a Eurocentric neoclassical style to a modern and systematic American style. The dissertation explores how we can add to that timeline through the restoration of existing buildings and introducing a more flexible type of healthcare architecture, that is able to adapt over time, and accommodate pandemics, natural disasters, and the constantly changing and evolving healthcare system. The project also explores the creation of more people orientated spaces that ensure adequate healing and working environments, with a technical investigation of engineered medical services.
Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first human to human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967, which sparked a personal interest in the functioning of the human heart. The ‘heart’ in architecture is a central, public space that accommodates the flow, movement, and circulation of people, much like the heart filtering and pumping blood to various parts of the human body. This concept will be explored through the design of an updated Emergency Centre, as a central entry and filtering point within the hospital precinct.