Serena Del Mar Hospital

Cartagena, Colombia, 2021 / Built

The contemporary hospital must be an efficient machine, effectively serving patients, staff and the public at large. It must do so with clarity, in a manner that is self-orienting. But, above all, a hospital must be a place that provides an uplifting and healing environment. The design of the Serena del Mar Hospital ensures a connection to nature through every part of the building; even in areas where operational efficiency is paramount, exposure to the surrounding lake and gardens is maintained.

The new Serena del Mar Hospital is the first project to be constructed as part of Safdie Architects' masterplan for a 140-hectare new civic district near Cartagena, Colombia. Designed in consultation with Johns Hopkins International, and operated by Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá, the hospital is a high-complexity teaching hospital to serve the city of Cartagena and the Caribbean region. The hospital will accommodate 150 beds in the first phase, and 409 beds once all phases are complete.

The main lobby of the building is designed with serene palette of local materials evoking a general sense of calm. The lobby looks out to a continuous garden of green bamboo.

The building consists of a circulation spine in between a linear bar structure, accommodating labs and offices, and a bamboo garden that extends from one end of the hospital to the other. Five wings project towards the lake, forming garden courtyards between them.

Patient rooms and visitor lounges look out through courtyards and gardens to the lake beyond. Each of the four courtyards is uniquely landscaped and opens to views of the lake and the surrounding hills.

The acute care patient rooms have individually-controlled sliding shutters to control sunlight and glare.

Intensive care patient rooms include a separate private area for the patient’s family.

An interstitial floor at the third level provides a clear open space for mechanical services, medical equipment, and distribution, with the flexibility of being able to add and replace equipment as technology and needs evolve.


A Place for Healing