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Architectural Record Explores Natural Ventilation at Singapore’s Ng Teng Fong General Hospital

Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH), an AIA Cote Top Ten winner, is a model for hospitals to behave as healing environments.

Excerpted from Architectural Record:

From the very beginning, the design priority for the 1.84 million-square-foot NTFGH, which opened in 2015, was to make the patient’s experience far more pleasant, says William Roger, director of Healthcare in the San Francisco office of HOK, architects for the project with CPG Consultants and Studio 505.

To improve the healing environment, airflow was paramount: research has shown that, in tropical climates, higher temperatures (from 79 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit) in rooms with ceiling fans are more comfortable than cooler spaces without them. The design team’s solution opens the floor plan of the standard ward like the wings of a bird, a move that creates a semiprivate corner with its own operable window for each patient bed. “Even on a calm day,” says Roger, “you can feel a breeze.”

Creating a comfortable temperature in Singapore’s tropical climate using only natural ventilation begins long before the breeze enters the room, however. NTFGH’s facades comprise multiple layers and elements, including vertical sunshades and deep overhangs of precast concrete. In addition to providing shade, the overhangs support plantings that contribute additional shade and some evaporative cooling, as well as views. Facade design is unique to each orientation, providing 60 percent shading on critical facades and 40 percent on others.

In selecting the project as an AIA COTE Top Ten winner, the jury commented that “this project is an extraordinary model for hospitals to behave as healing environments not seen in the United States” and “the passive strategies demonstrated here are a model for hospitals around the world.”

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