parkade zol, genk, belgium
Entrenched in the landscape, a two-layer car park on the Sint-Jan health care campus of the Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg (East Limburg Hospital) in Genk, Belgium. The hospital plans to expand considerably in the coming years and therefore required a new facility that provides sufficient parking space. Initially, the project was to be realized in three stages. The first stage would offer capacity for 750 vehicles, and further extensions for 350 and 500 vehicles would follow later. The building had to be sober, sustainable, aesthetic and functional. In addition, it had to be integrated in the surroundings, harmonize with the existing blueprint for the area, and the entire project had to be realized within a strict budget.
However, the planned position of the new parking facility had great disadvantages. It entailed long walking distances, intersections of cars and pedestrians, the creation of a vague area in terms of architecture and urban structure, and a high-rise section would be inevitable. Moreover, the entrance to the hospital would no longer be visible from the entrance to the campus.
In cepezed’s design, the car park occupies a central position in relation to the existing and the future construction, and a clear architectural structure has been formulated. Sightlines are not disrupted, and the route from the car park to the surrounding buildings and vice versa is now easier than the client anticipated. In addition, the current solution allows scope for another extra building.
The car park itself is an open space that is not claustrophobic, has natural ventilation, is fire resistant, and has simple emergency exits. The design was also so cost-efficient that the extensions planned for a later date could be immediately realized – and even within the allocated budget for the first stage.
The construction of the car park consists of prefabricated steel portals with a deck of concrete hollow-core slabs. Due to its low mass, its elegance, the abundant opportunities for prefabrication and its competitive price level, steel has been used at many places in the rest of the design: in the stairs, the balustrades, the footbridges, and the large entrance awning, for example. All components have been formed as slimline and as spaciously as possible.