Project category: Project in progress (March 2008)

Chief administrator: Saif Fadhel Al Hameli, Director of Project Directorate, (011) 971-2-419-3350

Firm: Jonathan Bailey Associates, (469) 227-3900

Design team: Tom Dwyer, Principal-in-Charge; Nestor Infanzon, FAIA, Design Director; Khader Kalbouneh, Project Manager; Phyllis Sheridan Infanzon, AIA, Project Designer; Lance Winn, AIA, Project Designer (Jonathan Bailey Associates); Hisham Abdulmalik, MEP Engineer (HDP C/O Arabtech Jardaneh)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 400,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $204

Total construction cost (excluding land): $81,679,325


Demand for women's and children's healthcare in Abu Dhabi has increased in recent years, and the birthrate will reach 19,000 annually by 2015. The new Women's and Children's Hospital at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre allows Abu Dhabi to meet the needs of United Arab Emirates' nationals and expatriate residents until the year 2030. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2006 and will be completed in two years.

The 400,000-square-foot facility, housed in a nine-story tower, will be constructed adjacent to the emergency department, allowing the hospital to extend services already available to the region. The tower will have 150 labor and delivery beds, 100 beds for gynecology services, and 50 pediatric intensive care beds, as well as 20 luxury rooms and two royal suites. The typical patient room layout creates an intimate, homelike setting for the new mother and baby to begin a journey with their family. Level One incorporates an enclosed garden and water feature and serves as the parking level and the main entrance to patients who arrive by car. The pedestrian entrance and the main connection to the existing facility will be housed on Level Two. The remaining floors are dedicated to medical services.

In design terms, architecture firm Jonathan Bailey Associates will blend innovation and tradition to create a structure that houses the latest in healthcare functionality, yet pays homage to the rich architectural heritage of the region. Elements of Islamic geometry have been incorporated into the design, lending cultural sensitivity and aesthetic interest to the building.

The firm faced unique challenges concerning the privacy of royal patients, their visitors, and entourages. In the past, it was usual for a team of designers and a construction crew to descend upon the royal suite weeks before a projected birth and build out the suite from scratch to reflect the royal patient's tastes and preferences. After the royal birth, the suite would be dismantled. Jonathan Bailey set out to create an interior so attractive that royalty would find no need for ongoing alterations and renovations.

The building also incorporates unique shading features and window screens to mitigate local weather conditions. Because the local climate is so severe, the building will be exposed to temperatures approaching 120°F. At certain times of the year, a combination of blowing dust, humidity, and salt in the atmosphere creates a caustic paste that can etch building surfaces that are improperly designed.