With a mission and mandate to provide quality healthcare, education, and research to the people of India, the new Tata Medical Centre in Kolkata (Calcutta) will serve the northeastern regions of India as well as the neighboring countries of Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. Occupying a 13-acre site at Rajarhat, the 300,000 sf center will be one of India’s first world-class comprehensive cancer hospitals and research centers. The new facility reflects the dignity, security, care, and stability of the Tata Trust and of Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai, an institution that for decades has been a leader in providing quality healthcare, education, and research. With gracious, inviting grounds and entrances, the Tata Medical Centre will project a civic presence while housing the most advanced technologies in cancer care today, offering hope and strength to patients and their families.
To foster a sense of community and place, an exceptional level of care has been devoted to the project’s siting and organization. Rather than simply housing all programmatic components in one large boxlike building, a campus setting was created by accommodating care delivery, research, academic, and support functions in separate yet linked structures. These buildings surround a central courtyard that forms the heart of the campus, with gathering spaces and gardens that foster communication and interaction among patients, family, clinicians, researchers, faculty, and students. The result is a vibrant environment for scientific discovery and multidisciplinary patient care.
Outpatient and therapeutic programs are conveniently located on levels 1, 2, and 3 of the clinical building, with patient beds integrated yet grouped separately on levels 2 through 5. Adjacent structures accommodate administrative, academic, and research programs. An “arrival gate” bridging the academic and clinical buildings engenders a powerful sense of inception and hope in all who pass through. A serene garden-setting glass arrival hall, featuring an information center and access to counseling areas and outpatient clinics, provides further inspiration and reassurance for all as they embark upon their journeys to wellness.
The new campus includes a low-dependency unit and a residential structure for physicians and nurses. Future phases of development envisioned in the master plan total over 800,000 sf and dovetail with other new construction – a new school, residential development, and high-tech facilities – planned for neighboring parcels. All future development is planned in a way that will preserve the original phase-one hospital and central courtyard, which will endure as a symbol of the Tata Trust’s benevolent legacy.
With summer temperatures commonly exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, over 1.5 m of monsoon rains falling between June and September of each year, and seasonal dust storms, the climate demanded durable, authentic materials as well as traditional Indian architectural solutions. A natural stone and concrete exterior was chosen not only to withstand the extremes of wetness, dryness, and heat but also to weather beautifully over time – and to look as if it has proudly stood there for centuries. A double-walled system called a jali screen protects the building from the elements on the south and west. Windows of clear glass appear primarily on the complex’s north face and are deeply recessed and shielded by broad overhangs to minimize solar gain and potential water penetration.
The building is carefully oriented to capture the prevailing winds, which change direction in summer and winter. Openings are strategically placed in the building’s mass to allow continual movement of air through the structure. Although the complex is fully air-conditioned, mechanical provisions have been made for the use of operable windows in certain waiting areas to enhance the comfort of patients and visitors who prefer natural ventilation. (Sterile areas are, of course, designed in accordance with state-of-the-art medical air quality standards.) Rain is harvested and stored in underground tanks for year-round irrigation of the gardens that are integral to the patient experience and to the creation of the Tata Medical Centre’s healing environment.