Women’s Specialty Hospital

Concept: The Women’s Specialty Complex is a tapestry, a constructed fabric that weaves the disparate needs of women with dignity and honor, and accommodates the full spectrum of women’s health:  Serenity + Anxiety; Celebration + Contemplation; Privacy + Family; Connection + Separation; Joy + Sorrow

The imagery of a woven fabric serves as inspiration both in the organization of the programmatic components into a vertical and horizontal weave and in the treatment of the exterior into a protective shroud from the harsh sun. The weaving of disparate materials and the interweaving of a varied program through the vertical and horizontal circulation are a subtle reminder of the rich nature of our families and the role women serve to unite us.

Site:  Set in Riyadh within the existing medical campus for the National Guard the site for the KSAU Specialty Women’s Hospital is adjacent to and attached to the is the existing Children’s Specialty Hospital. Placement of the Women’s Hospital conforms closely to the established site organization while both accommodating the varied requirements for both vehicular and pedestrian access specific to the Women’s Hospital and creating a separate identity for the Women’s Specialty Hospital.

Context:   The design addresses the adjoining built context by incorporating similar materials and adopting a similar strategy towards the building configuration.  The building massing strategy reflects the adjoining Children’s hospital as well as responds to the overall programmatic organization.  The aluminum vertical fins that provide solar shading to the in-patient room recall the exterior of the adjacent Healthcare Administration Tower.

Program:  The charge from The National Guard Health Affairs for Saudi Arabia was to provide a modern high end facility that serves the specific healthcare needs of women throughout Saudi Arabia.  This 810,000 SF 300 bed facility accommodates the full spectrum of birthing, maternity and GYN clinical services, reproductive health services, gynecological care, and education.  In addition the program required clearly distinct connections for service and for the public to the adjoining Children’s Hospital.

Design: The architectural forms reflect the projects broad programmatic components.  The four story diagnostic and treatment ‘chassis’  is a solid base that both programmatically and visually supports the five story glass In-patient bed tower. An interstitial floor mechanical floor that feeds the Diagnostic and Treatment floors effectively visually separates the base from the tower.  A mechanical penthouse which feeds the bed tower floors completes the woven shroud which wraps the floating bed tower.  GFRC panels form the diaphanous shroud that wrap the tower while vertical aluminum fins screen the in-patient units.  The solid base with punched openings is juxtaposed with a series of glass, light-filled courtyards and a two story glass connector that provides direct public access to the adjoining Children’s.  The architectural forms embrace the disparity within the program by highlighting the dichotomies of heavy/light and solid/void.