Hisham A. Alsager Cardiac Center
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Medical buildings are usually perceived as spaces with negative connotations, specifically when referring to rehabilitation centers where patients stay for long periods of time. Therefore, in the design process of the Hisham A. Alsager Cardiac Center, the aim was to change this perception and to build a positive space, one that is able to act as a hub for social activity, rather than just a medical center.
At this point, the first element to consider was the exterior of the building (including the volume and its materiality) as it is the first connection point between the patient, medical center and the environment. Instead of treating the general volume as a mere container of functions, developed a proposal that is formally similar to one of social and cultural infrastructure. A sharp volume that contains two large red openings in the façade, these invite access to the building and suggests to the visitor what they will find inside. The stone clad façade provides the necessary protection for the harsh weather of Kuwait and ensures a highly sustainable performance with low maintenance.
The anatomic scheme of the heart and its mechanism within the whole human body was used for the design of the project. The heart is the central muscle of the system, which pumps blood to nourish the rest of organs and cells within it. The heart is present in the design of the central atrium: a three storeys height red colored space onto which the waiting areas and circulations open to. Several courtyards provide the space with natural light to experience the spacious architecture, in contrast with smaller rooms that are usually found in this kind of buildings. Patients move to and from this central space (the source of light and life), as red blood cells do, and are received in the clinics and different departments to be put back in the circulatory system once re-oxygenated. Cardiovascular medicine, its basis, and even the aesthetic of its tools have been used to write an architectural script that allows us to propose a different kind of healthcare building, with an experiential attitude, that takes into account the specific needs of users (patients and workers) in trying to making their stay in the hospital as easier as possible.
Clinics, grouped in three levels at the south part of the building, are disposed as small specialized self-managed cells (managed by one doctor and his team), and have three spaces: two exam rooms and one consult office, with their own waiting area. Each “cell” is organized between courtyards, providing all rooms with natural light, ventilation, and privacy for each one. Patients and workers access to the clinics from different ways to improve circulatory efficiency.
Specialized rehabilitation areas (pool, gym, running track, etc.), research and administration services of the center are strategically placed at the north of the building, which allow them to open up to the exterior along the bay, providing great views of the sea and high quality light conditions. Inside this cluster, the main physical activity spaces are double height in order to show up in the façade and “oxygenate” the experience.
Project Name: Hisham A. Alsager Cardiac Center
Type: Health | 15,000 sqm
Location: Al Sabah Medical Area, Kuwait
Date: 2015 – Built
Client: Khaled A. Alsager
– Highly Commended, World Architecture Festival Awards 2014, Future Health Projects category
– Silver A’Design Award 2013, Architecture, Building and Structure Design category
– Highly Commended, Hospital Build & Infrastructure Awards 2013
About the architect:
The international design firm AGi architects was founded in 2006 by two young architects educated at Harvard University, Joaquín Pérez-Goicoechea and NasserB. Abulhasan.
With a noticeable international character and a multidisciplinary focus, AGi architects offers a professional service emphasizing quality, creativity and exclusive design. AGi has a vision to create environments that create a lasting value for clients through distinctive and imaginative solutions. At present, the studio has offices in Kuwait and Madrid, with a team comprised of more than 50 professionals.
The studio’s architecture is based on four founding pillars: innovation, an inherent life component, ecological and social interventions and research. AGi architects provide comprehensive services in architecture, urban planning and design, interior design, research, consultancy and complementary services.
Among the latest acknowledgements for AGi architects are a nomination for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture-Miesvan der Rohe Award 2015, “Highly Commended”at WAF 2015,four WAF Awards (2014, 2013, 2011 and 2010 editions), ten Middle East Architect Awards (2015, 2014, 2013 & 2012), two mentions at MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards 2012, and various awards granted in the last editions of Cityscape Awardsand International Property Awards, amongst other prizes.