RZ Tienen

The typical hospital mindset is pathogenic, focusing on where diseases arise and how we tackle their causes. Our design philosophy turns this completely on its head: we focus on well-being and health by applying the principles of salutogenic design in architecture, landscaping and engineering. By doing so, we ensure an unprecedented connectedness between these different areas and create a hospital environment that is extremely welcoming – not just to all.  The hospital’s users, but to local residents and for nature, so that the hospital becomes a friendly, sociable neighbour in its city. With this modest, natural hospital, we wanted to give RZ Tienen a unique identity, distinctive position and complementary added value within its network and immediate setting.

The design team aimed to give the hospital a human, local and understandable character. The design was intended to underpin a healing environment, not by artificial means, but by entering into a tangible relationship with the city, neighbourhood and environment. A care infrastructure (in the broad sense of the word) was wanted that would be seen in a positive light by both hospital users and the local community: the care environment on a human scale. The design therefore took the landscape and the neighbourhood as its starting points; existing qualities were reinforced and any disadvantages mitigated.

The hospital interacts with its environment and takes account of the capacity of the city and the neighbourhood. This also makes the site a driver of sustainable urban development, seeking a win-win relationship with the neighbourhood and city as far as possible. This integration with the environment and the community prepares the hospital for the profound transformations in care provision, which is moving towards local and social ‘care accommodation’ close to people.


programdesign of a new hospital (Competition design, highly commended second place)
clientRZ (Regional Hospital) Heilig Hart Tienen
addressRZ (Regional Hospital) Heilig Hart Tienen, Kliniekstraat 45, 3300 Tienen Belgium
building typecare
expertisesbuilding auditinterior architecture
size43.000 m² with some 700 parking spaces
teamarchitect: assar architects
building services: Sweco Belgium
structural engineer: Fraeye & Partners
grounds: Stramien