Rebuilding Neuropsychiatry Hospital

Wooyo Architecture

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – C.G. Jung.

An existing neuropsychiatry hospital in New Taipei City, Taiwan was in need of an overhaul. The building is located on a slope. Externally, the entrance needed a new controlled gate and universal-access route. The building lacked sufficient sunlight due to the adjacent four-storey-high retaining wall, and it was covered with mechanical pipes, for which there was no budget for relocation. Internally, a redesign was needed to accommodate the needs of new medical services.

In addition to these practical matters, Wooyo Architecture wanted to re-examine the image of this institution and reconstruct the relationship between the medical staff and patients. The hope was a re-interpretation of neuropsychiatry with a modern medical point of view, and elevation of the spiritual dimension in design.

The architects pulled back the gate and security post, and added a new fully covered waste-disposal space. They reworked the open area in front of the building, elongating the driveway and reducing the slope. They accommodated an S-shaped universal circulation route with greenery, and planted tall trees to eliminate the visual impact of the retaining wall. They removed the building’s eaves and added a layer of metal mesh to the existing wall. This covers the old pipes and provides adequate protection from the rain, while allowing air to flow and light to reach the interior. The old wall and new mesh form a new skin for the building, which appears different during the day and night.

The interior is a play of geometry and duality. The voids provide space; the solids are the storage and furniture. Objects seem independent and separated. Although the function of objects may vary, some share the same geometry. Similar geometries and objects repeatedly appear on different floors to create a deja-vu effect, but there are differences in design detail as a hint for orientation.

In response to the concept of modern neuropsychiatry, the semi-opaque skin of the hospital acts as the filter/receptor between the outside and the inside, allowing for the landscape to blend with the interior geometry. The body is the receptor, the brain is the editor. Fragmented information is received, decoded and edited to make up one’s reality. Quantum physics, on the contrary, claims that the outer reality is the realisation of the inner consciousness. Perhaps the ‘healthy’ are in a dream just as the patients are.

Photography: Ethan Li