AZ Zeno Knokke-Heist

A healing environment

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Ceci n’est pas un hôpital
(but a healing environment)

A warm and human living environment close to nature gives patients the chance to heal faster. Several studies show that environmental factors such pleasant views, green, color, social activities, etc. can affect the healing process considerably.
Source: Design & Health – Alan Dilani

The temporary association AAPROG – BOECKX. – B2Ai won in 2007 the ambitious competition of vzw Gezondheidszorg Oostkust for a new hospital in Knokke-Heist on the Belgian coast. Ten years later, this futuristic building is completed and will be operational in spring of 2018.

The grounds where the hospital is built, extend to 20 hectares. The new health care facility contains a hospital, a rehabilitation centre, a care hotel, an outpatients’ clinic, lecture halls, public events spaces and a helipad. The challenges and ambitions of the new hospital range from being highly functional and future-oriented to sustainable and in any case, conserve the rural character of the environment.

The new hospital, inspired on the works of René Magritte, seemingly levitates above the landscape and is dominated by nature and light as far as the rooms below the ground floor. The transition between outside and inside, between the care facilities and the public spaces is almost seamless resulting in an inviting and inspiring context of care.

The design is a striking example of “living architecture”: sustainable design and construction with a special eye for integration in the natural landscape, ecological energy and materials used

The particular approach from a true multi-disciplinary team means a break with the traditional approach in architecture and established a precedent in open consideration and collaboration at every level: from concept and design, planning, constructing to occupation and future evolution. The design team achieves a true breakthrough away from the tradition of hospitals as functional boxes with sterile spaces and instead focuses on harmonising medical functions, personal relief and comfort and social interaction.

A clear choice has been made to use sustainable and energy saving measures, without compromising on the high comfort requirements.

Among other things a biomass boiler, cogeneration and borehole energy storage contribute to sustainable energy generation. After the commissioning of the new hospital in-depth tests are carried out that exceed those of a normal delivery. Special attention is also paid to the operation and interaction of the installations, technical and structural, as to the maintenance contracts of the different technical installations.

Take a virtual walk through the hospital of the future:



Completed in December 2017

Energy level

Picture and photography
Tim Fisher
Milosz Siebert

Floor area
52.000 m²

Client: AZ Zeno vzw
Architecture: TV AAPROG – BOECKX. – B2Ai
Structural engineering: TV Greish – S.C.E.S.
Technical engineering: Ingenium nv
Interior design: B2Ai cvba
Landscape architecture: Paul Deroose – B2Ai – Boeckx.
Safety coordination: VEKMO
Construction Management: SWECO nv

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