Shigeru Ban’s Pledge to Build Ukraine’s Largest Hospital with Timber!

The six-storey cross-laminated timber extension will increase the capacity of the country's largest hospital.

Sat 27 Jan 24


Pritzker Prize-winning studio Shigeru Ban Architects has partnered with local architect AMBK to design a cross-laminated timber expansion for Ukraine’s largest hospital near Lviv.

As reported by Dezeen, the new surgical centre was announced by the city’s mayor as part of the Lviv Urban Forum in June 2023.

Wood Central understands that the construction of the extension will begin early next year.

“Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the country’s largest hospital-based in Lviv is reaching capacity and in urgent need of expansion,” according to studio founder Shigeru Ban.

The six-storey building will use cross-laminated timber (CLT) as its base material, with renders showing a rectangular block with a gridded facade with an expressed-timber entrance canopy.

Shigeru Ban Architects and AMBK have designed an expansion to a hospital in Lviv. (Image Credit: Renders provided by Shigeru Ban Architects)

Internally, the building is designed around a central atrium containing the reception area and surrounded by exposed timber columns. 

In addition, the timber structure is showcased throughout the design.

According to Shigeru Ban Architects, the structure has been developed with Swiss engineering studio Hermann Blumer not to require metal joints.

Responding to the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis…

In addition to the hospital, Shigeru Ban Architects is also developing a Styrofoam Housing System (SHS) to provide affordable housing solutions for those affected by the war.

Ban, known for his innovative use of recycled cardboard in architecture, is helping to address the growing refugee crisis in Ukraine.

The studio collaborated with Polish architect Hubert Trammer and former student Jerzy Łątka, an architect specialising in paper structures. 

Opening in March 2023, the project features 319 cardboard-and-cloth cubicles for refugees.

Łątka secured free materials from cardboard manufacturer Corex to aid in the construction of temporary shelters.

The project is located in the Ukrainian city of Chelm. The city collaborated with a team of architects and volunteers on the initiative. 

They set up the partitions in a vast, nearly 40,000-square-foot hall of a former supermarket. 

“The entire aim of this design is to create an ersatz room where you can process your emotions in at least a little bit of seclusion,” said Dominik Pękalski, one of the architects on the project. 

The cardboard frame is quite sturdy to the touch, and the white curtains create an impression of a walled structure—although a fleeting one, with children suddenly darting out from behind them.

The partitions are made of eight long substantial cardboard tubes (around 7 feet long), with large holes drilled into them.

Smaller tubes serve as connectors, secured with strips of duct tape.

A piece of fabric is thrown over the top beam, secured with safety pins, and that’s it. Setting up one cubicle can take as little as 90 seconds.

Since 2004, Ban has been perfecting an inexpensive partition system using recycled cardboard to provide privacy within temporary shelter spaces.


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