In spite of immense development in India in the last 20 years, there is still a large section of society to whom basic medical facilities are not available. Most private facilities are directed towards the affluent while the ones provided by the government are in a perpetual state of dereliction and neglect. One example of a government run facility is ESIC (Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital) where the employer by way of insurance, mandatorily deposits funds for his laborers. With a network of 120 hospitals across the country, medical care is met for the poorest of sections with an inward fee of only Rs 5 ($ 0.1), However inattention and apathy in maintenance have resulted in deteriorating conditions of these hospitals.
The challenge was to design and construct a 30,000 square meter ESIC hospital on this site, while the existing hospital badly damaged in the devastating earthquake in 2001 continued to run. This was carried out in a phase wise manner, demolishing certain parts and rebuilding while retaining others that continued to function so the hospital was continuously operating at all times. This process was further complicated due to an existing Muslim tomb and a Hindu temple within the campus that had to be retained so as to not harm any sensitive sentiments, this area being the site of many communal riots in the past. The building also had to be maintenance free and have minimum active energy usage to save it from desertion and disregard.
Being a hospital that catered to the poorer sections of society, the brief didnt call for plush amenities like those of the private hospitals so a method had to be worked out to provide a soothing environment using economical methods. This was done by designing generous spaces (in contrast to the cramped waiting areas typically provided in government hospitals), providing ample light and ventilation and interspersing the building with landscape. To keep maintenance hassles and wear and tear to a minimum the entire building was constructed out of fair finished concrete with the lower portions clad in hard granite stone for easy wash ability and high durability.
The large volumes created for out-patient department were then articulated by a screen of aluminium louvers, each individual louver being precisely modulated so that views to the surrounding landscape are not impaired, while shading the interiors for the harsh piercing tropical rays, thus providing an atmosphere of comfort at no mechanical or Air Conditioning expenditure. It also unobtrusively acts as a grill controlling the flow of people without acting as a visual or psychological barrier, while also keeping the rains out.