The glass-enclosed staircase links
the old building with the new. Circulation is separated according to
users: staff, patients, and goods.
The Serra, or greenhouse, contains
the atrium and the main reception
desk. Photovoltaic panels hang on
a laminated-wood structure (right)
that echoes the trees.
Top left, Alessandro Ciampi/courtesy CSPE; top right and bottom,
Pietro Savorelli/courtesy CSPE
Locals called it l’Ospedalino (“the Little Hospital”). Located in the
heart of Florence, Meyer Pediatric had played a central role in
the city for more than a century, but its aging facilities were almost
quaint in scale—not at all equal to the institution’s stature as the
leading children’s hospital in central Italy. So, in spite of the fierce
attachment Florentines felt toward the old building, a new Meyer
was constructed, and preparations were made for the big move.
On the evening of December 14, 2007, police cordoned off the
streets, and vehicles of all kinds converged on the old hospital.
Nearly 1,000 people helped with the move, most of them volunteers.
It was an all-night affair featuring lab-coated clowns, off-duty cabbies, three city buses, and a fleet of ambulances. By dawn the Little
Hospital had relocated to its new home in the hills of Careggi, the
Florence medical center some four miles away.
If the event was like a scene out of a Roberto Benigni comedy, the
hospital itself tells a different kind of story. It’s a tale of collaboration starring two firms—Centro Studi Progettazione Edilizia Architects (CSPE), a local practice, and Anshen + Allen, international
health-care specialists—that together created a state-of-the-art hospital that would have been difficult for either to accomplish alone.
A long, low copper-clad building with a huge green roof, Meyer is
both thoroughly of its place (a humble object discreetly tucked into
A section drawing shows how historic
buildings (right side) were incorporated into the new building’s plan.
The restoration of this structure and
its use as an entrance for the new
hospital are meant to recall the previous, much beloved facility, which
was located in the center of Florence.