Firm's role on the project: Design a comfortable healthcare environment.
To design a hospital that will:
- Provide exposure to light and views for patients
- Provide security for patients, visitors, family, and staff in every part of the hospital
- Offer a comfortable healthcare environment in a desert climate
- Achieve operational efficiencies and minimize travel times
The city of Doha has taken an approach to urban planning that spaces buildings far away from each other – a natural impediment to fostering community. With the desert climate, the design must find ways to maximize health-promoting exposure to natural light and views without creating excessive energy demands. Other challenges included creating a sharia-compliant design (essentially doubling every flow to accommodate men and women separately), and at the same time creating one hospital to meet the needs of those in the custody of the state of Qatar as well as staff, general patients, and visitors.
Planning a hospital on this scale was effectively an exercise in both architecture and urban planning – creating a facility that functions as a self-sustaining community within itself. At the same time, the integration of family and the community at large was paramount as these connections are key to the healing process.
The following strategies were employed to create a facility that responds to the distinct needs of its various populations while creating equal wellness-enhancing environments for all:
- Public amenities are organized around the main lobby - providing separation between front- and back-of-house functions and creating community connections.
- The patient care wings partially surround courtyards, to allow public access to these outdoor spaces, while at the same time augmenting the amount of natural light that reaches patients.
- In response to EBD findings indicating that single-patient rooms promote patient healing and reduce the risk of nosocomial infections, the majority of inpatient rooms were designed as single-patient rooms, providing the space and privacy for greater family engagement (the precedent in the Middle East is for multi-patient rooms).
- Patient unit family lounges are situated in corners to give 180-degree+ views outside as well as providing view and light to patient corridors as a wayfinding feature. Sub nurses’ work stations are strategically located close to patient lounges giving the benefit of natural light as well as ease of viewing the patients.
- Separate circulation routes were planned for men and women to ensure equity of treatment in the same quality of healing environment.
- Outpatient services are located in a park-like setting adjacent to the mosque, with a generous courtyard and portico (for all-important shade). This functions as a community space convenient to both treatment and an important traditional social/religious hub.
- The secure patients’ area has equal access to view and daylight for staff and patients.
The hospital is envisaged as a nucleus within a larger future campus, with a portion of the site being set aside so that additional community and primary healthcare facilities can be provided in future.