Titanium dioxide breaks down smog on a Milanese hospital building

Mario Cucinella Architects’ San Raffaele Hospital breaks down Milan’s smog while optimizing daylighting for patient privacy and energy efficiency. Opened in January, the 40,000-square-meter (430,550-square-foot) building is home to research, teaching, and clinical activity, with facilities dedicated to specialized care and 284 inpatient beds. Rising ten stories, the hospital serves as a new home to a medical campus whose buildings date from the 1970s and 1980s.

The building’s plan is largely rectangular, its circulation is optimized to minimize the distances between critical care facilities. The architects also focused on maximizing site lines between staff and patient areas, allowing for hospital workers to monitor patient needs more effectively. This was not done at the expense of privacy, however; there are still dedicated spaces for patients and visitors varying by privacy needs. Rooms for visitors to meet with patients were designed to be more homely, with interiors that feel less clinical and locations near corners—providing for greater views of the exterior.

Close up of tiles on a facade
The earthen-colored ceramic tiles of the podium contrast with the white ceramic fins. (Duccio Malagamba ©Mario Cucinella Architects)