Magic cube

A new eye-catcher on the Heidelberg hospital scene is the Angelika Lautenschläger Hospital, a centre for children and adolescents. As a five-storey glass cube, it stands out on the northwest corner of the hospital ring road linking the individual buildings of the traditional Ruprecht-Karls University. The cube rises from the park and only up close does it become apparent that the building is a multilayered ensemble of different structures, sharply cut and with a clear geometry. At night, due to its transparent façade, the hospital looks like a large shining cube accentuated with colourful bands.

The inspiration for the design by the Munich architects’ office Nickl & Partners was the famous colourful magic cube which the Hungarian civil engineer and architect Ernö Rubik invented in the 70s. With its simple shape, the cube playfully succeeds in giving a clear order to highly complex processes and a wide variety of functions – especially important for a hospital. Functional areas were separated and transferred into a concept. Each of the main functional areas of the hospital is designed as a self-contained structure: the cube is dedicated to the treatment and care of the patients, the garden level houses the intensive care unit, the ground floor accommodates the heavily frequented emergency ward and the floors above it contain patient rooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.

The colours in the building help with navigation. Horizontally arranged coloured glass plates on the façade produce a colourful, ever-changing play of light on the inside walls. A two-layer glass skin adds depth to the building shell and also acts as sun protection. Grey concrete stones cover the façade of the building, which is accessible via a transparent skywalk with playing figures. The premises have been designed to look bright and friendly to make the stay pleasant for the young patients.

The architects selected DLW Linoleum Marmorette flooring in a light beige to go in many areas; it emphasizes the overall calming effect. Thanks to its ease of cleaning and maintenance, linoleum is particularly hygienic and fights bacteria right out of the box. It offers outstanding walking comfort, is noise-reducing, slip-resistant and pleasantly warm underfoot. Therefore, it is best suited for use in hospitals and care facilities. And architects appreciate DLW Linoleum’s eco-friendliness because it is made from primarily natural and renewable raw materials.