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Ghat-inspired aesthetic for Varanasi hospital

Mumbai-based Edifice Consultants Pvt. Ltd. has designed the Mahamana Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Center in Varanasi, which was to plan a 340-bed extensive cancer center on a 6.5 acre plot within the Benaras Hindu University, while focusing on the local aesthetic and cultural traditions.

The hospital is divided into three parts: the Radiation Therapy (RT) Block, the Diagnostic (D&T) Block, and the IPD Wing. A separate Patient Registration Centre (PRC) is designed to prevent congestion in the clinical areas. The radiation therapy treatment has a separate unit with seven linear accelerators, a Brachytherapy and Bhabhatron. A Nuclear Medicine Department with PET CT, SPECT CT, and PET MRI on the second floor supports the cancer care efforts.

The third floor houses an endoscopy suite, a blood bank with apheresis capability and laboratory. A surgical suite of nine major and three minor operation theatres cater to surgical needs, while a central sterile supply department is placed on the floor below and supports the surgical suite with dedicated elevators.

The D&T block provides imaging initiatives such as CT scan, MRI, X-rays, fluoroscopy, ultrasonography, 2D Echo, ECG, and TMT. An emergency department on the ground floor provides treatment to cancer patients. There is also a 48-bed chemotherapy unit on the third floor and a 23-bed critical care unit on the fourth floor, connected via a bridge to the surgery suite in the RT block. The IPD block has 213 beds across seven categories. A full-fledged kitchen is situated on the ground level.

The structure is designed as per the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) guidelines apart from the IS Codes and National Building Code (2016). Structural steel was chosen for the main element, supported by steel beams spanning between steel columns. RCC slabs on metal decks are used for flooring connected by steel studs for a composite structure. Concrete-encased columns with steel reinforcement are designed as composite columns. The architectural façade and clinical functions of the project did not allow diagonal braces to be added for lateral load resistance, thus, shear walls are provided with the main beams connected to steel columns. The internal steel beams are covered with vermiculite for fire protection purposes while the beams on the façade were encased in concrete.

The building design is reminiscent of the terraced aesthetic of the Varanasi ghats. Apart from the aesthetics, metal jaalis reduce heat gain in the double-height entrance lobby. The cupolas on the building cores are adapted from Benaras Hindu University.