My Favourite Building: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

He says Cleveland Clinic is a “once in a lifetime type of project”

ANALYSIS, Projects, Abu dhabi, Healthcare, Hospital

Charles Secker describes Cleveland Clinic as a “once in a lifetime type of project”. It is, he argues, “a hospital that blends cutting-edge technology, evidence-based design, world-class care, and Arabic culture with iconic architecture”.

“Every time I drive by the building I’m amazed, not only by its incredible presence and beauty, but also by its purpose.”

The $1.5bn project, which is being built by a joint venture between Six Construct and Samsung C&T, is part of Abu Dhabi’s plan to create a world-class healthcare infrastructure under its Economic Vision 2030. It will have 364 beds when it opens in the summer, but has a capacity to expand to 490.

Secker works for HDR, which is the design architect for the project, with Aedas as construction architect and Aecom providing consulting engineering. He was not involved in the design, but said that it takes its inspiration from ancient Middle East towns, with the hospital arranged as stacked blocks, with bridges and walkways connecting them. The interior design uses wood tones, onyx and a desert-inspired colour palette, which softens the building’s feel and links to the exterior design. There are also views of the Arabian Gulf and rooftop gardens from patient rooms to provide a calming environment.

“To put it simply, this building is my favourite because it shows how architecture and design can be harnessed to aid in the healing process. CCAD wasn’t designed simply to be a beautiful building.

“It was designed to support patients and families as they navigate through the hospital experience — an experience few people ever want to have.”

Charles Secker, Operations Director, HDR Middle East

Charles Secker is the director of operations for HDR’s Middle East practice, located in the firm’s Dubai office. In this role, his responsibilities include management and leadership of HDR’s practice throughout the Middle East, which encompasses primarily the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

Secker joined HDR in 2010 after acting as director of projects for Emaar Healthcare. Prior to that, he was a design manager at Aecom.

He has lived in Dubai since 2005. He is originally from Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he spent 10 years working with Mill & Ross Architects, which was acquired by HDR in 2007. Secker studied architecture at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

HDR’s projects in the region include the DuBiotech HQ and King Faisal Medical City in Abha, KSA.

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