Zaans Medical Center

Creating a healing environment

In the new Zaans Medical Center, patients and visitors experience an atmosphere designed to improve well-being and support recovery. The ‘healing environment’ of the hospital is the result of an intensive collaboration between Silo and architecture practice Mecanoo.


The quality of healthcare

Quality in healthcare is no longer solely defined by medical aspects alone. The overall experience of a hospital stay or visit contributes to the optimal recovery of patients and a pleasant work environment for staff. But what determines a positive experience? Many different factors: from the coffee you can order to the proximity of services, and from how you are welcomed at the reception to the distinctive look-and-feel of the spatial environment.

Zaans Medical Center is a regional hospital, founded by the local community. I feel proud when I walk through the hospital. You feel the connection with the region. At the end of the day, that is what drives us.

Wouter van der Kam , fmr chairman of the board Zaans Medical Center

A 3,500 m2 ‘human landscape’ for positive distraction, which connects visitors to the the region by referencing to whaling, shipbuilding, traditional architecture, crankshaft technology, and food warehouses.

Positive distraction

Following the architectural approach, we developed an integrated plan to enrich the experience of the spatial environment inside the hospital. The increased levels of stress and emotion caused by being ill are counteracted by providing ‘positive distraction’ to patients. The subtle, yet clearly visible interventions in the building create an added value and interesting narrative.

Lady of Zaan

Upon entry into the spacious central hall, visitors see a wall-covering hand-drawn illustration of a reclining human figure. This ‘Lady of Zaan’ comprises components of the regional industrial heritage, familiar to anyone in the Zaan district. This emphasizes the personal bond between the hospital and the residents of the region.

A place that promotes well-being

Architecture practice Mecanoo designed Zaans Medical Center as a friendly and accessible building. The hospital is innovative for its lean design, which aims to prevent any form of waste. Clear routing, an abundance of daylight, the use of wood, and positive distractions contribute to an environment that does not feel like a hospital, but as a place that promotes wellbeing. Together, Silo and Mecanoo have won multiple awards for Zaans Medical Center.

Hand-drawn illustrations

Hand-drawn illustrations

The hospital walls, glass partitions, light boxes, and elevators feature an additional 3,500 m2 of hand-drawn illustrations. To achieve this, the original images were animated using 3D software. By selecting several stills from the video, a large volume of images could be made, without becoming repetitive.

The spatial designs also improve the orientation in the building.

The black-and-white craftsmanship is a personal handwriting which expresses purity, quality, and clarity.

Wayfinding and corporate identity

Wayfinding and corporate identity

For the new Zaans Medical Center, Silo developed not only the distinctive spatial identity but also the wayfinding and corporate identity including a logo. The wayfinding is design in unison with the spatial identity, ensuring that all users of the building can quickly and independently find their destination. The corporate identity emphasizes that Zaans Medical Center offers excellent healthcare and more.

Especially for the young patients, an animal world was developed to spark their imagination.

ClientZaans Medical CenterYear2017CreditsMecanoo (architect), Thijs Wolzak (photography), Silo (photography)Awards2 x Gold Cube ADC Awards 2017, Designism Cube ADC Awards 2017, Yellow Pencil D&AD Awards 2017, Red Dot 2017, People's Choice Frame Award 2018, 2 x Gold European Design Award 2017, Bronze Lamp ADCN Awards 2017, Sign+ Award 2018, Finalist Architizer A+ Awards 2018
Rene Toneman

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