University Hospital Aachen High-tech in a listed heritage building
In the Persian Gulf, the orthopaedic surgeons from University Hospital Aachen (UKA) enjoy superstar status, with people coming in from Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Oman to undergo surgery here in the Centre for top-level Medicine.
UKA in figures
- 34 clinics
- 23 institutes
- 45,000 in-patients per year
- 200,000 out-patients per year
- 1,400 beds
At the Moskwa, in the Russian capital, the hospital’s surgeons are the recognised leaders in their fields. It’s via high-powered contacts such as these that around 1,000 foreign patients a year come to the UKA in Aachen. The reputation of Aachen’s thermal baths, too, exerts a mystical attraction. Many of these patients also bring their families along, combining their surgery, follow-up treatment and post-operative convalescence with shopping trips and visits to the place where Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands all meet up.
Hospital with high-tech architecture
However, it’s not just in a medical sense that the UKA is a world winner – it’s also the greatest example of high-tech architecture in Germany and, for architectural historians, is right up there with the Pompidou Centre in Paris or the Lloyds of London building. The UKA is a hospital with high-tech architecture. An architectural addition on 2011 was the new “Hand of Rescue”, a 1,200 sqm. helicopter landing pad hovering, seemingly in mid-air, 15 metres above the hospital forecourt and able to accommodate two emergency evacuation ‘copters. A skewed, off-vertical elevator shaft whisks patients to triage within one minute of landing with no bed transfers – valuable time that can save a life. It was made a listed building in 2008.
With its towers, pipework and metal mesh set amid green parkland, it still looks futuristic even though it was built over a quarter of a century ago, offering joggers, golfers and cyclists imposing views time after time – whether gold encrusted in the evening sun or a dark silhouette enshrouded in mist.
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