5-Star Hospitals

While many cities in the Middle East prepare to transform the region into a medical hub, several large-scale healthcare projects are taking shape around the region. However, unlike medical complexes of the past, these new projects promise state-of-the-art facilities with design concepts from world-renowned architects

In this feature, MEA shows you five healthcare projects in the Middle East that have incorporated the best of architecture, design and medical facilities to provide hospital services in a hotel-like setting.

Project #1:
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) in a joint venture with ICME and Tilke
Client: Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA)
Project Status: Tender
Size of Facility: 300,000m2
Number of beds: 850

Design details: Envisioned as a “city within a city,” the design endeavours to create a new paradigm for a medical centre, one that is more like a bustling campus, with vibrant public spaces and a sense of community.

According to SOM, the design of the medical city is based on the belief that patients are guests and everything about the facility supports that notion of hospitality.

The design allows for the flexible integration of next generation medical technologies, while the incorporation of amenities, such as trees and hanging gardens coupled with restaurants and retail, provides tranquillity, relief and a sense of normalcy for patients and their families.

Project #2:
Al Mafraq Hospital
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Architect: Burt Hill/Stantec
Client: Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA)
Project Status: Expected completion mid 2014
Number of beds: 529, expandable to 739
Size of Facility: 246,118m2

Design details: The new hospital complex is distinguished by four prominent patient towers and striking contemporary architecture indicative of the state-of-the art medical facilities housed inside. The outpatient entrance is graced with generous landscaping and sustainable natural environments.

Visitors are greeted by an inviting and refreshing water feature. The high ceiling in the main lobby and spacious reception area welcome the outpatient to the 145 clinics and supporting services. The building design was developed in accordance with international practices for sustainable design and includes features such as natural day lighting, a VAV system to reduce volume of air supply and fan energy, and use of indigenous plants.

Project #3:
Kuwait Children’s Hospital
Architect: AGI Architects
Client: Ministry of Health Kuwait +Private donors
Project status: On Hold
Number of beds: 600
Size of Facility: 40,000m2

Design details: The proposed design for the Kuwait Children’s Hospital (KCH) seeks to position the medical facility as a landmark in Kuwait by integrating local traditions and cultures within a mid-rise building. According to the architects, the building expresses a powerful sign in the skyline and establishes a strong sense of place, history, and future for the children of Kuwait.

Designed like a fortress, the hospital’s exterior seeks to offer protection from the harsh climate, while the soft and colourful interior acts as an oasis tailored to the children’s use. A retail podium that accommodates banks, restaurants, shops and a hotel fulfils the basic urban needs and provides services not only to the hospital users but to the whole neighbourhood as well.

This is part of the client’s plan to integrate KCH into the existing commericial, residential and social fabric so as to become an urban anchor in the area.

Project #4:
King Faisal Medical City
Abha, Saudi Arabia
Architect:  Henningson, Durham and Richardson International (HDR)
Client: Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia
Project Status: Phase 1 completion – October 2015
Number of beds: 1, 350
Size of Facility: 262,836 m2

Design details: The architecture and design of the entire campus is based on Islamic geometry, and specifically, on the eight-sided star derived from a square; a motif from the Abha region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is designed to de-institutionalize healthcare through patient and family-centric healthcare delivery and the integration of the built and natural environment.

The form of the hospital derives from the natural environment, with the building nestled in a “wadi” (valley) with solid-stone sides protecting a “waha” (oasis) containing public areas, and a “jebel” (mountain) above a patient tower with all private rooms. The city is envisioned as a one-stop destination for coordinated comprehensive care for the entire southern region of the Kingdom.

Project #5:
Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital
Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
Architect:  Perkins Eastman and Bayaty Architects
Client: RAK Government
Project Status: Completed
Number of beds: 248 beds, expandable to 400
Size of facility: 65,032 m2

Design details: The design team looked to the surrounding natural environment for inspiration and sought building forms and materials that would form a meaningful connection to the site—rich with natural amenities including dramatic red sand dunes and lush desert foliage.

The undulating desert sand and groves of drought-resistant plants required careful consideration from both an ecological and sustainable standpoint. The exterior features a combination of stone, glass, and metal while the interiors maintain the desert palette with the addition of bright colours.

A welcoming environment that is functional and efficient without compromising aesthetics was the ultimate objective. Overall, the design is modern, flexible, and sensitively integrated within the natural environment.

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