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SKMC, SOM, Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center, Abu Dhabi, eco hospital, desert architecture, hospital

The Sheikh Khalifa Medical City is being designed by SOM for the SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Service company. The new eco hospital will rise up on the site of the existing facility, which will undergo a phased demolition and reconstruction. Envisioned as a city within a city, the bustling facility will become a vibrant and welcoming space for patients and visitors. Integrating both historical and regional precedents, the medical center will make use of state of the art technologies along with local heritage of the UAE to build a space that responds to its desert environment.

SKMC will combine a general hospital with a level-one trauma center and women’s and pediatric hospitals. Built upon a heavy two-story stone plinth, the hospital’s main circulation corridor will be home to a network of gardens that also serve to unify the bed towers that rise above. The lower floors will house the adult and pediatric emergency departments, the women´s urgent care center, outpatient departments, inpatient and day surgery, intensive care units and related functions. At the heart of the hospital is the vibrant “town center” comprised of lobbies cafes, retail and education spaces. Overall, the goal is to create a space that is welcoming, pleasant and improves the patient experience.

As for sustainability, the project is aiming for a Two Pearl rating under the Estidama guidelines for sustainable design. Regional concepts are combined with high efficiency systems to mitigate the extreme temperatures of the desert climate. Rooftop solar collectors and simple fabric scrims will shade the main garden level, which is lush with vegetation to create a cooler microclimate. Natural daylighting, ventilation and sun shading will all work in conjunction to passively improve the conditions of the space. Hanging gardens, public courtyards, and terraces will infuse nature into the space. Phased construction of the 2.5 million sq ft. medical complex will begin in 2013.

Images © SOM/L’Autre Image