Al Maktoum Accident & Emergency Hospital
Nadia Tobia deconstructs the design for Jebel Ali's newest A&E centre
By Nadia Tobia, Principal, Perkins Eastman
International design and architecture firm Perkins Eastman designed the Al Maktoum Accident and Emergency (A&E) Hospital in Jebel Ali Dubai for the Dubai Health Authority which, when complete, will become the Emirate’s first dedicated A&E facility.
“Based on our experience with large-scale complex care facilities, we believe that the Al Maktoum A&E Hospital will create a new standard for innovative, patient-centered care in the UAE,” says Jonathan N Stark, principal and managing director of Perkins Eastman’s international operations. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to be complete in 2012.
The design creates a facility capable of providing immediate care for minor- to high-level trauma accidents and emergencies. The 300-bed, 95,000 sm facility includes a four-story inpatient unit and a large clinical including the emergency department and support services component. Led by Toronto-based Principal Nadia Tobia, the design team had to cater to a brief that required state-of-the-art healthcare design and technology, while at the same time maintaining world-class design using a non-institutional approach.
The highly integrated design provides significant flexibility and a focus on patient care and family needs utilizing the most advanced medical technology, international design, and healthcare planning solutions available. “A facility of this importance and magnitude demonstrates the commitment of the Dubai Health Authority to bring world-class emergency care to Dubai,” says Tobia.
From a planning perspective, the concept focuses on the atrium or “spine” of the building which provides direct access to all medical departments—crucial for organizing circulation flow and departmental adjacencies. This serves as the main spatial organising element. The atrium provides a central gathering space for patients and family and brings in natural light deep into the interior of the building. Superimposed on the “medical mall” concept is the hospitality model of design with cafes and shops in a comfortable environment. The design approach throughout the project was a response to cultural needs but also provided a high standard of clinical function.
Being a trauma center, a ground and rooftop helipad and an ambulance receiving area are directly linked to the trauma resuscitation suite and the OR rooms, diagnostic imaging unit with MRI, CT, and X-ray capabilities. Additional spaces for diagnostic imaging, surgery, endoscopy, lab functions, and an outpatient clinic are also included within the facility’s design. A learning center with lecture hall, library and clinical teaching labs are provided and linked to the public areas.
Architectural features such as lighting, exterior and interior courtyards with plants and water features, signage and wayfinding elements and art displays will be highlighted to create a positive and pleasant environment. “Designing with the environment in mind is more challenging for hospital setting than for other types of buildings,” says Tobia. The volumes of energy consumed by a hospital, as well as the challenges presented by infection control measures and clinical standards are particular challenges in healthcare design. The project team is targeting EHS certification and LEED Silver certification.”
Aesthetically, the Al Maktoum A&E Hospital will be natural and soothing—an oasis for healing. The choice of colours in the main public areas are influenced by natural sandstone colour of the desert and are complemented with dark wood paneling, granite flooring and fritted glass. The colours in the clinical patient areas also display a soothing palette and change on every floor to aid in patient and visitor wayfinding. Materials with good infectioncontrol characteristics for the clinical areas include resilient sheet flooring and solid surface for counters and sinks.
About the Author
Nadia Tobia is a Principal of Perkins Eastman and the firm’s leader of the healthcare sector in the Middle East. She has more than 25 years of experience in master planning, urban design, interior design, and project management for civic, healthcare, and hospitality projects. Ms. Tobia has significant experience on large-scale master plans with international multi-disciplinary teams. In addition to her work in North America, she has completed projects in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, China, Ireland, and for the United Nations. Recently, Nadia has been a key player on the firm’s work in the Middle East, including the Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah and the Al Maktoum Accident and Emergency Hospital in Jebel Ali.