Hospital or Hospitality?

April 1, 2008

The groundbreaking in January 2008 for the new Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi (CCAD) Hospital, United Arab Emirates, inaugurated the much-anticipated hospital of the future. The CCAD hospital is a steward for the architecture of humanity, a building that employs the latest technologies, patient-centered care, and evidence-based design to assist in healing patients and improving clinical outcomes.

©HDR 2008

HDR Architecture Inc., selected as the Master Architect to design the new CCAD, was awarded the project through an International Design Competition. It represents HDR's most significant project to date and will provide state-of-the-art healthcare in the Middle East.

The design blurs the lines between hospitality and hospital. The elegant glass towers evoke a sense of civic pride, with an iconic statement complementing a new skyline in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi.

Scheduled for completion in 2011, the 360-bed hospital and clinic is located on Al Sowa Island, adjacent to the new Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange. This strategic location brings healthcare, education, and commercial development together in a vibrant cosmopolitan district.

The master plan is based on a village concept, explains Alexander Wu, design director. "The central tower stands as a beacon for healthcare along the island's waterfront, and is supported by a large community piazza that includes a reflecting pool, parks and lushly landscaped gardens. A floating gallery connects the administration building with the hospital. This important transparent structure is the key public celebratory space providing amenities such as retail, food service, and living spaces."

Plentiful indoor and outdoor spaces are purposefully designed to offer healing environments, gathering spaces and wayfinding. With the inclusion of soothing water features, the expansive gardens not only allow occupants to experience the tranquility of the site, but create places that build a sense of community within the setting by fostering human interaction.

Since summer 2007, HDR has worked with over 50 Cleveland Clinic physicians, administrators, and nurses, accumulating several hundred hours of user group meetings and design charrettes. "These brainstorming sessions helped to ensure that upon completion, CCAD will be five years ahead of state-of-the-art," explains Wu.

The architecture adheres to stringent sustainability guidelines with the promise of achieving LEED Gold Certification despite the climate's harsh challenges. "A dual curtain wall design serves as a kind of ‘respiratory system' for the building," describes Wu. "Air is circulated between the glass walls to insulate the building from the climate, helping to significantly reduce the building's cooling load. Other sustainable design features include the use of photovoltaics to relieve electrical loads and the reuse of gray water and storm water to reduce dependency on desalinated water."

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