A hospital is usually a place of treatment. However, the Weihai Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine is a place of true healing. Located in the eastern part of Weihai City in the Shandong Province in China, the hospital is owned by the Kang Yang Yi Le Group and is used to provide facilities and health services for the elderly. What makes this hospital extra special, though, is that it also functions as a traditional contemporary Chinese garden.
The hospital was designed and built by GLA Design. GLA is based in Bangkok, Thailand, and specializes in landscape, architecture, interior design, planning, and consulting. The hospital measures around 8,000m and was originally a group of bungalows in the Pinus Thunbergii forest that was in ruins. GLA decided to turn these ruins them into something beautiful. Lead architect Zhu Peidong and his team of architects transformed the bungalows into a network of buildings and courtyards featuring gardens with large mirrored waterscapes. The team wanted to “imitate but not copy the traditional style,” as instructed by the proprietor; this resulted in a deep sense of respect and responsibility throughout the project, and it came to life through low-rise buildings with real stone walls, traditional flush gable roofs, double slope tops, and hip roofs. The buildings are connected by corridors on both the north-south axis and east-west axis, creating the layered experience of a traditional Chinese courtyard.
Each section of the courtyard is reserved for a different function, from an enclosed space with a lush lawn fit for activities to a circular patio and square courtyard to represent a balance between “a square earth and spherical heavens, harmony between man and nature.” All these elements combine with the cool colors, low lighting, and open spaces to give the hospital an overall grand appearance, even with its minimalistic design.