No halt to operations during the pandemic.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
Replacing windows at the San Pietro Clinic in Bergamo.
Finstral renewed 550 hospital windows – all while it continued to function, all in the midst of the pandemic.

It’s a sunny autumn day: Florian Oberrauch from the Finstral management team and project manager Olexandr Pegasin have come to Bergamo, a medium-sized city north-east of Milan, to inspect a joint project. The San Pietro Clinic, an unpretentious building from the 1960s, gives the impression of being well kept. Its red window frames and shutters blend harmoniously into the architectural system and break up the strict order of the individual parts of the building. There is nothing to suggest that the clinic, along with Finstral – its partner in the refurbishment project – have spent a number of intensive months working together.

When, a few years ago, it was decided to refurbish the hospital windows, it was clear to all involved that replacing windows in an existing building – while the hospital continued to function – would be a complex and organisationally demanding task. In addition, the windows had special aesthetic and functional requirements, with difficulties of installation in the eight parts of the building that were to be renovated, not to mention in a newly built wing. There was also one especially large challenge: the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, one that hit Bergamo particularly hard.

Finstral not only took on this difficult job, the company also successfully mastered it under conditions that its competitors would have shied away from. “We were in many respects able to offer exactly what was needed for the project”, says Florian Oberrauch from the company’s management. For aesthetic reasons, the windows and roller shutters on the exterior had to be a uniform red in colour. No problem for Finstral with its modular range, which always offers maximum design freedom: the choice for the outside fell on red roller shutters and perfectly colour-coordinated aluminium window frames; while, for the inside, the choice was white PVC easy-care windows that would make the rooms brighter. Finstral was also able to meet specific wishes in terms of the hospital’s functioning: all windows have a lockable handle and a tilt-then-turn function so that patients can if desired tilt the windows themselves, but cannot open them fully. Solar control glazing with a g-value of 0.28 and an LT-value of 0.60 throughout the building also prevents overheating, thus helping to reduce energy costs yet allowing plenty of light into the rooms. In the ninth, new part of the building, the noise protection glass with a sound insulation level of 45 decibels meets the standard requirements for new buildings, with the room temperature and acoustics ensuring patient comfort.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
Shining in new splendour: the San Pietro Clinic in Bergamo.
“Both aesthetically and functionally, we were able to satisfy the wishes of the hospital department responsible for the refurbishment without any problems. This is normal for Finstral. Installation presented a much bigger challenge”, explains Oberrauch.
“We were aware from the outset that the project was extremely complex. Even with our innovative installation methods, conditions in a hospital are very different from those in residential or administrative buildings. There are strict hygiene regulations, patients are being operated on, and life and death issues occur every day. The hospital’s work cannot simply be stopped or interrupted”, explains project manager Olexandr Pegasin. What was needed was a cost-effective installation method that would make window replacement as smooth, flexible, unobtrusive and clean as possible – yet not in any way restrict or disrupt the hospital’s functions.

The ideal solution was therefore Finstral’s slide-in installation, a minimally invasive method that radically simplifies the replacement of outdated windows. The old surrounding frame with its functioning structural joint is retained, with only the sash frame and the fittings removed. The existing surrounding frame is duplicated with a profile inserted from the inside that replaces the frame of the old sash. As neither the frame profiles are cut, nor is any masonry work required, replacement involves no noise or dirt. That’s it: the use of frameless sashes from Finstral’s Nova-line design line means that the exterior looks just as it did before renovation, at an average of 30 minutes’ work per window – all plannable, clean and virtually inaudible.

“You can’t just go from room to room in a hospital as you replace the windows. Everything has to be precisely coordinated with the hospital management and fully matched to the internal processes. We received weekly plans showing the available rooms. These were distributed throughout the entire building complex”, explains project manager Pegasin. He continues with a smile: “And that’s exactly when we faced our next challenge!”
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
The contrast of red and white characterises the building.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
The red frames match the hospital’s logo.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
The building dates from the 1960s: renovation was completed in 2023.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
Structuring the façade: the systematically arranged windows.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
Perfect colour coordination of the roller shutters and window frames.
The façades of the eight existing buildings were renovated at the same time as the windows. While the window replacement was distributed across all of the buildings, the façades were renovated one after the other across the entire area. The installers would therefore sometimes encounter a façade with a thermal insulation system that had already been renovated – and sometimes not. In addition, there were windows of different materials – wood, aluminium or steel – and different external windowsills installed in the eight building sections. “We developed separate drawings for each individual existing building, as well as for the new build. As installation differed greatly depending on the part of the building and the installation situation, the installers received very thorough training. They had to be as flexible as possible and adapt to each situation quickly and in a focused manner”, explains Olexandr Pegasin.

Then he suddenly pauses, foreshadowing a tragic turning point in the story: “And, suddenly and completely unexpectedly, we were overrun by the coronavirus pandemic, which hit Bergamo particularly hard at the beginning.” The hospital was in a state of emergency: the renovation work was halted for three months, wards were closed and only two remained in operation. The project manager continues: “Once the initial shock was over, we continued our work despite the pandemic, having naturally adapted our plans to the situation: we took measurements and installed windows while wearing protective suits then, later, just wearing masks, initially on the wards that had been closed owing to COVID. While the pandemic completely paralysed many other sectors, we completed our work step by step until we were finished”.
And now? Florian Oberrauch and Olexandr Pegasin stand in front of the finished clinic, satisfied – and somewhat relieved. “It’s almost impossible to imagine that we replaced some 550 windows here in the hospital, all while it continued to function, all in the midst of a pandemic, all without causing a disturbance. I well remember the hospital staff’s amazement at how flexibly and unobtrusively we were able to work”, says Oberrauch.

Finstral’s slide-in installation was clearly the key to the project’s success. Not only was it able to fulfil the client’s requirements in terms of aesthetics and functionality, the minimally invasive process meant that the installers had the necessary maximum of flexibility in their work. Even in the entirely exceptional circumstances of COVID, replacement always proceeded smoothly, thanks also to the professionalism and expertise of the Finstral team. “We were practically invisible – just as we should be”, says Florian Oberrauch calmly. “Strength sometimes lies in tranquillity.”
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
Harmony in red and white.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.

The large glass surfaces let plenty of light penetrate the entrance area.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
The handles with their tilt-then-turn function maximise user safety.
No halt to operations during the pandemic.
The white PVC window frames ensure brightness in each room.
Still want more?
See here for further interesting reading matter.
PageConfig.OriginalHttpReferrer: -