The Sderot Medical Rehabilitation Center, located in south Israel, near the Gaza Strip, was designed to provide medical services and rehabilitation to patients in the Negev region and, in particular, the Gaza perimeter.

The Ezra LaMarpeh Association, a nonprofit organization that provides free medical treatment, built the rehabilitation center. The facility houses a therapeutic pool, an occupational therapy unit, a physiotherapy unit, a diagnostic unit and a consulting unit.

Due to the unstable security state in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks, the goal was to design a safe building which will allow ongoing activity even when it is being bombed. The challenge was to design a bomb-proof building that meets strict security requirements but at the same time creates a pleasant therapeutic environment by allowing the penetration of natural light and rooms filled with the colors of vegetation and the sky, thus opposing the stress and claustrophobia that characterize the daily routine of running for shelter when being bombed.

In order to achieve the required security level, special ballistic studies were conducted. Rockets orbit diagrams were used in order to analyze where the building's facades and roof scape could be opened to allow natural light and views, and where it needed to be closed for security reasons.

These studies allowed leaders to design the building in such a way that therapy, even in the external therapeutic garden, can be continued, without the need to run to a bomb shelter when there is a rocket attack. This is a great relief for the patients and staff who can concentrate on therapeutic activities without a constant worry of what might happen during a missile attack.

Specially designed brightly colored ceramics, in patterns, were used to clad the walls. Similar patterns were used on the floors while timber brings warmth to the surroundings.

The insistence on conserving two impressive mature Ficus Microcarpa trees on the site caused complication during the construction period, but proved to be a worthwhile decision. Their proximity to the building creates the notion that the building has existed next to them for a long time rather than being recently constructed.

Therapeutic activities were the focus of the building's design. The therapeutic pool is on the ground floor, which allows for easy access from the street and the convenient movement of the patients from activity to activity. A small café is designed as part of the main entrance for patients, and their families and escorts. The consultation rooms, and administration and management offices, are on the first floor, with an extra, separate entrance for times staff need to work in the afternoons and evenings. The basement houses all the technical support as well as equipment a rental unit (therapeutic instruments, wheelchairs, etc.). This space also can operate independently in the after hours.

 

Project source list

Completion date: January 2017

Owner: Ezra Lamarpe – NGO

Total building area: 3,000 msq

Total construction cost: 30,000,000 ILS

Cost/sq. ft.: 1,100 ILS

Architecture: Weinstein Vaadia Architects, architect in charge – Tali Rosen

Interior design: Weinstein Vaadia Architects, architect in charge – Tali Rosen

Contracting: Asum

Engineering: Zvi Abramovich

Carpet/flooring: Ecostone Terrazzo 211 – Zimbris-Stone

Fabric/textiles: Landau

Furniture—seating/casegoods: Sarel

Handrails/wall guards: Shinzon

Lighting: Regent

Signage/wayfinding: Kasher Design