I've been a Eurobrick fan for a long time but I've recently taken up a member role in the EB community and so this is my first MOC on Eurobricks, a hospital built in Cafe Corner Modular style called Mercy General.
MOC: 2010 Lego City Hospital: Mercy General
“Medicine is of all the arts the most noble…” The First Law of Hippocrates
In the heart of Lego city is a great institution of healing and hope, Mercy General Hospital. From emergencies to injury and disease, Mercy General is set up to deal with the urgent care needs of Lego citizens. With it’s state of the art design, the hospital measures 64 studs wide and has 3 and 5 floors of space over a massive layout. Facilities includes emergency vehicle drop off, a helicopter pad, a doctors office, a maternity ward, overnight rooms, a surgery center, radiology room, administrative offices and a gorgeous lobby for guests. There’s even a triage center and a pharmacy! Reconfigure the hospital with just the twist and turn of the buildings for a layout that best fits your city! Whether you arrive by car, ambulance or helicopter the professional doctors and staff of Mercy General will know just how to take care of you!
I’ve been hoping for a hospital from TLC for some time. We’ve had police stations, fire stations, more fire stations but the hospital situation has been dire for some time (check the Eurobricks post on health care for a good take on the situation). I decided that my little plastic city couldn’t afford another chipped hand or scratched up face thus I set out to design a hospital that my town would be proud of. The result is Mercy General, the most comprehensive health care system in the world! (my world is a small table in my garage).
About the Design
During the planning of Mercy General, I did a lot of research on hospitals and medical facility design. From a city planning perspective a hospital is a major landmark and the real estate for most hospitals usually consists of many city blocks. Many major city hospitals house multiple medical buildings that may be set up as a vertical cityscape of towers or as a sprawling citywide campus. Around the world I noticed that a lot of new hospitals have very distinct architectural features that are fresh and modern ranging from the playful (seen in modern children’s hospitals) to the very contemporary and high tech. The larger modern structures seem vast and expansive incorporating clean materials like steel and glass; the long design lines and the use of certain material seem to invoke the kind of calmness that would one would come to expect in a care facility yet behind the façade of materials is a practical medical facility.
Having found inspiration in modern hospitals, my dilemma was building a “modular-sized” hospital for a modest table town city. I love the large scale hospitals that are often done by professional builders and LUG groups but I didn’t want to overuse materials. I also did not want My Own Version of a production set (or some other existing MOC on the web).
Thus, I set out to incorporate MOC hospital would complement my existing modular buildings as well as fit perfectly with TLC production CC style sets like Green Grocer and Fire Brigade as well as non CC style buildings (one that I call “playscale” ) like 7641 city corner and the 7744 Police HQ. I determined that the proportions of my MOC would have to scale to the CC buildings yet the final design shouldn’t appear to dwarf other playscale buildings. For inspiration I turn to the existing TLC production hospitals 7892 and my personal favorite 6380 emergency treatment center.
7892 has a modern feel to it with the tall tower and straight lines. I never did like the molded “rock” platform baseplate and the ramp for the paramedic seemed awkward. 6380 on the other hand was a model that I always kept fully constructed in my collection. It was a great addition to my young city in its heyday and 6380 just seemed functional, metropolitan, and the layout felt “hospital-like” (comforting and functional).
Seeing the potential in the 7892 and 6380 inspiration, I also wanted to maintain that classic red and white hospital color scheme, though my original hospital was meant to be a modern color scheme of greys, blues and whites; the red and white just screamed classic. Funny enough however, choosing red and white really hampered the style process. I literally spent months revising the design because a red hospital seemed too harsh yet a mostly white hospital was too dull.
How to solve this color problem? I use red as an accent (like a beacon of emergency) rather than a base color. I definitely wanted a mostly white building and to keep the white from looking plain I use the power of shape, texture and depth to bring out the light and shadow of the “colorless” element.
The results: Basic Red bricks as the tower (the beacon) and jumper plates, tiles and textured bricks to create depth in the white building.
My original concept was for a modern facility but I decided after seeing classic European and early American hospitals that the building should have some classical architecture.
ADVICE: classical architecture works well for any city layout if it is not overdone.
I love the Greek revival style that is used in courthouses, universities and banks so I formatted the focal front of the main white building applying the fundamentals of classic Greek temple design (columns, capitals, architrave, etc). The Greek style design was especially relevant given the symbolism in medicine which is borrowed from the ancient Greeks (Hippocratic Oath anyone?).
The rest of the main white building has a classic European style to it with the stone offsets on the walls and corners; there are arches above the windows throughout and I strategically place the arches to tie in the design of the entire facility. An obvious trait of to many modern hospitals is the vast number of windows so I was sure to place lots and lots of windows throughout (184 window pieces!). Spare no expense!
OK, enough about the architecture, The build itself…again, lots of jumper plates, flat tiles, 1 x 1 bricks with the headlight stud, Lots of long plates (which are actually pretty difficult to incorporate in a building because long plates flex and long-wide plates are rare or non existent.) I use dozens of the new 1 x 2 x 3 windows (hard to find, I had to buy them by the hundreds from PAB online), and it was very important to plan out the understructure so that there were no inadequate or unnecessary connections for the entire structure to lock together and to stand firm.
The main hospital has 3 levels in two buildings. The space will be used for the majority of modular rooms that I have planned (the Rooms will be detailed in Part 2 of my Mercy General Hospital Review). The Modern portion of the facility has the tower, the emergency vehicle parking and drop off port and of course what hospital would be complete without the helicopter pad? The red tower is mostly patient overnight rooms with beds (see Part 2).
As for my favorite part of the design; the hospital is convertible! (no not drop top) it transforms using hinge bricks along the inside walls.
Set on four 16x32 plates I noticed the potential late in the design phase for a hospital that could be configured into multiple facilities; if I could set each building on a separate plate each could stand alone hinged together. I spent a lot of days on and off tweaking this feature. I placed the main building on the center two 16x32 plates (or one 32x32 plate) and the outer two buildings, the main care facility and the Emergency vehicle port, on hinges. I layout out windows and doorways to match up perfectly in any open or closed configuration so that when the building is reconfigured it will have doors, windows and walls that connect uninterrupted to the building. The end result is a six hospital configurations out of one design! My four favorites configurations: Mercy General Health Care System (1), University Research Hospital (2), Metro Memorial Hospital (3), City System Urgent Care Hospital (4).
Like all good CC style buildings, I added a few minfigure characters to the mix to bring out the personality of the facility. Doctors, Surgeons, Nurses in hospital “themed scrubs”, A family with newborn baby, and various patients; a police officer in serious condition, as my town gets bigger my city streets can get kind of rough, there is also a wheel chair which is loosely based on a concept learned here.
I think my favorite item is the Angel of Mercy statue, it is simple yet gives you that feel good feature.
I’ll be back with a much more brief part two presentation of Mercy General showing the various modular rooms that I built. These were actually more fun than the hospital build (I even made a custom sticker sheet!). Overall I am pleased with the design, the CC style proportions and the color scheme. I hope you enjoyed the tour and the presentation. See you in the city!
UPDATE, UPDATE, UPDATE
FOR PART II, CLICK HERE
Edited by Phred, 22 January 2012 - 09:40 PM.