A hospital is a complex structure from an affective and relational point of view, where patients' and staff members' sensitivity to the effects of environmental quality are heightened. A project should try to reduce the typical depersonalization patients suffer when in the hospital, striving for a unified image, easy orientation, understandable functions, and relationships with the outside world.

We designed two buildings in strict symbiosis. The first, elliptical in shape, is specifically dedicated to the therapy. It is open to the green of the outdoors and is built around an inner garden—“the space of the self.” Its form encloses the patient affectionately. Its interior organization is the result of research in which all the possible models for a dialysis center were examined, based on existing regulations, medical experience, and specific studies on the psychological aspects of chronic illnesses and patients undergoing dialysis. The second building, tubular in shape, contains services and provides transition between the first building and the existing hospital, which was built on different concepts.

The interior design supports patient comfort. The ceilings are inclined, to take the eyes and the mind to the gardens, and the furniture does not look at all mechanical. Each patient is provided with Internet access, a television, and music connections. Special care was taken to provide attractive views and to allow natural light inside. Where artificial light is used, it is always indirect and in soft tones. The colors chosen respond to conscious intentions and to specific forms. Sequences and relations inside and outside, in open spaces and enclosed gardens, and among inner spaces were studied from a psychological point of view in addition to their spatial/functional aspects.

At the center of the project are symbolic spaces: three Zen gardens that serve as points of reference and as places to gather one's thoughts. They are the interior spaces around which the hospital revolves. They are gardens of dreams, gardens of hope, and places for growth and cultivation of vital internal phenomena.

The pavilion was designed to include spaces for artwork, which serves as a cultural bridge between the hospital and the city—a humanizing force. Seven artists participated in the concept of “useful” art that addresses functional problems: Sol Lewitt and Robert Morris (USA), Dani Karavan (Israel), Hidetoshi Nagasawa (Japan), Claudio Parmiggiani and Gianni Ruffi (Italy), and Daniel Buren (France).

Project category: New construction (completed May 2005)

Chief administrator: Prof. Ivano Paci, Presidente Fondazione Caripit, 011 (39) (0573) 97421

Firm: Studio Vannetti 011 (39) (055) 573612

Design team: Gianni Vannetti, Architect, Principal-in-Charge; Elena Morici, Architect, Team Leader (Studio Vannetti); Mario Bechi, Civil Engineer (Studio Mario Bechi); Giorgio Frugiuele, Electrical Engineering (Studio Frugiuele); Enzo Poli, Mechanical Engineering (Studio Poli)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 17,134

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $198

Total contruction cost (excluding land): $3,400,000