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When it opens in 2020, Kuwait Children’s Hospital will become the world’s largest pediatric medical facility. This 792-bed healthcare center will be the first consolidated pediatric care model in the Middle East, offering a full range of clinical services, tertiary care and wellness programs. Perched on Kuwait City’s coastline, the hospital’s immense size, extensive capability and engaging design set it apart from existing facilities across the globe.
At 6,404,000 square feet, Kuwait Children’s Hospital provides an extensive array of medical facilities, including 99 intensive care units, 48 neonatal intensive care units, 30 surgical theatres, 19 X-ray rooms, 14 ultrasound rooms, seven CT scanners and a helipad with two dedicated lifts. The hospital is capable of taking on specialized medical research and sophisticated teaching programs. A 1,500-foot long atrium will feature “the great sea adventure”, a unique experience that blends elements of civic, retail and hospitality through creative and thoughtful design.
An awe inspiring narrative unique to Kuwait’s culture and geography is presented through scaled elements. A five-story tall atrium is envisioned to be viewed through the eyes of a child, as if looking up to the sky from the ocean floor. Larger-than-life sea creatures serve as memorable and easily identifiable wayfinding elements, guiding patients and families to their destinations. The large creatures used implied kinetics to give a sense of movement to the stationary creatures as visitors move through the atrium. From the outside looking in, the building has the appearance of a massive aquarium. Like a mall, people will visit just to walk, shop and experience. A series of healing gardens cater to a variety of therapies, ranging from mental health to physiotherapy.
Astronomy, mathematics and science are profoundly rooted in the art and architecture of the region. The hospital’s skin takes inspiration from these disciplines, resulting in a crystalline appearance. At the base of the hospital, the podium’s solid masonry shell offers protection from the regions intense sun, while still providing natural lighting through geometric openings. The healing tower’s façade of glimmering metal and glass filters incoming light. The varied depth of the faceted geometry provides effective shading and diffusion, optimizing interior daylight while providing a reprieve from the climate.
Supplying a Monumental Design
A major design challenge for the medical center was finding an effective and efficient method of supplying energy, water and air conditioning to such a massive building. A central energy plant provides power and a 40-megawatt generator acts as a comprehensive backup in emergencies. A chilled water plant supplies a 290,000-gallon domestic water storage tank, a 92,000-gallon tank dedicated to fire suppression and a cooling tower tank with a 450,000-gallon capacity.