Text description provided by the architects. Concept design and medical planning for Koc University’s Medical Sciences Campus, located in Istanbul’s Topkapi district, was prepared in collaboration with Cannon Design. From the early stages of the project, design workshops were organized with representatives of different parties, including doctors, nurses, professors and the management team. In addition to the concept design and medical planning, Kreatif Architects also carried out the revisions that became necessary as the planning permission was altered following the completion of the first stage.
The project is based on the idea of creating a spatial organization flexible enough to respond possible future needs and requirements while functioning as an innovative research centre for the medical industry. The design also encourages the integration and collaboration of different disciplines for a better medical education.
Academic education and professional application functions are carefully positioned to mutually support each other. The campus consists a medical faculty with research and training programs, a university hospital with a capacity of 440 inpatients, a nurse school, an advanced simulation centre, high-security research labs, dormitories, social facilities and sports halls. Accordingly, the design is shaped to create visual and physical connections between the research, training and the hospital blocks.
The formal architectural language is formed by abstracted contemporary forms and materials, of which the origins may be traced back to the forms of another campus of the university located in a remote district of Istanbul. The forms and materials associated with hints of traditional Turkish architecture. Large eaves and stylised bay windows on the south wing reflect such concerns.
The building is formed mainly by two rectangular long blocks aligned on a narrow lot. The southern wing is designed lower and is distanced from the other one with a smooth curve to provide more natural light reaching to the atrium and to the northern wing. The opening between the wings creates an inviting entrance to the hospital. The terrace above the main entrance provides a secluded and peaceful public space for patients, doctors, students and visitors.
The atriums used in the structural design are important architectural elements that ensure the integrity of the interiors and exteriors. Moreover, the spaces at mezzanines and basement floors can have access to far more daylight because of the skylights placed in these open spaces. The first stage of the project constitutes the medical school and the hospital at the front side of this complex, while the nurse school and future extensions such as dormitories, techno-park and social facilities are located on the north-west side that are completed in the second stage. Due to the sudden changes in the legal building regulations that occurred during the construction, the blocks in the second stage could not be built at the same height with the first-stage-blocks, as it had been previously planned. Therefore, the spatial design was revised due to the some of the cancelled functional programs proposed for the second stage.
One of the main challenges of the project was separating the hospital’s circulation routes from other units. Different user profiles such as patients, students, academicians and visitors can only encounter each other only at specific designated points to maintain the high hygienic standards. Service roads surrounding the campus and basement floors are reserved for other circulation scenarios including the emergency access, delivery of goods and waste extraction.
The main principle of the design was to exclude items and decisions that could raise the cost of construction and maintenance. That is why long-lasting, easy-to-clean and low-maintenance materials and details were preferred throughout the complex. The design also avoids luxury to create a peaceful and unobtrusive architecture that would become a neutral but comfortable context for both patients, students and employees whose lives focus on recovery, education and research.