Inspired by the rapid evolution of medical science and healthcare, Qatar-based OMA and Squint/Opera have released a prototype for a low-rise hospital that explores the potential of modularity. Designed by OMA together with BuroHappold, the prototype is part of research for the Al Daayan Health District Masterplan, which encompasses the ‘rethinking’ of the traditional hospital.
Located on a 1.3 million sqm site between Qatar University and the new Lusail City, the Al Daayan Health District is very much a futuristic symbiosis between architecture and medical science. The prototype includes a tertiary teaching hospital, a women’s and children’s hospital, and an ambulatory diagnostics centre, all together totalling a capacity of 1,400 beds joined into a single structure. Astonishingly, the façade is open to endless design variations due to advanced 3D-printing technology.
The first floor includes clinical facilities, while the bed wards are located on the ground floor, reducing the dependency on elevators. The layout also allows patients to enjoy the complex’s generous gardens, which are also commonly referred to as ‘healing spaces’ in Islamic medical architecture.
The hospital’s prefabricated cross-shaped modular units can be reconfigured and expanded with minimal disruption to ongoing processes, significantly lowering the cost of future adaptations. Meanwhile, all supporting facilities are connected to the hospitals by an automated underground circulation system, with a dedicated logistics centre and solar farm enabling the district to function autonomously. Additionally, a high-tech farm supplies food and medical plants for the local production of medicine.
A potential look at future of healthcare construction as we know it, OMA and Squint/Opera’s ambitious project is buildable at low cost, with minimum reliance on global supply chains. Whether the concept is a ‘miracle cure’ for healthcare constructions remains to be seen, but don’t be surprised to see similar prototypes emerge across the globe.