The new Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Center in Kuwait draws from the understanding of the sanitary space as a place that oscillates between the public and the private, between the open and the intimate, having to address both aspects at the same time.
Buildings dedicated to sanitary programs require going beyond the purely functional requirements, incorporating the emotional as a main premise of design. Environments should seek sensations of intimacy and warmth, relaxation and tranquility. Well-being and caring is essential in a healthcare project dedicated to the diagnosis of breast cancer. Located in the hospital district of the city, this center takes up these values, which are also present in other projects of healthcare architecture in Kuwait by AGi architects, such as the Kidney Transplant Center or Hisham A. Alsager Cardiac Center. Thus, one of the main aspects that are addressed in this design is the creation of a pleasant and welcoming space that favors the treatment of patients.
This new sanitary building will be the reference center in Kuwait for the diagnosis of this disease. The center also incorporates an educational and training program, which makes up a large part of the building area. This part of the project extends the understanding of the medical function to other key aspects that conform the healing process, such as learning or sharing.
This healthcare architecture in Kuwait proposed by AGi architects expresses the presence of these two types of functions, the medical and the educational. In order to do that, the design is articulated in two axes.
The first one is a horizontal volume, low and perforated by several patios, which serves to host the healthcare program. The second one is a vertical typology, a tower that accommodates the educational spaces.
The horizontal part of the building is therefore the space dedicated to the most of the hospital. This program is organized as a volume that sinks slightly in the terrain. In the perimeter of the plot, a perforated aluminum skin surrounds the whole area. Behind it, a garden is revealed at the lower level. The access is happens through a platform that, like a bridge, hangs over the garden. The presence of vegetation is key in the proposal. In this way, the access and waiting spaces have the different gardens of the building as background image.
The waiting rooms are conceived as pleasant and relaxing spaces where you can see the tops of the trees.
On the other hand, the educational program is organized in a vertical way, distributed in several plants and deployed in different types of space. Formal places have been designed, such as the conference room. Informal ones were proposed as well, such as different gardens and terraces that can transform into event and exhibition space. Educational program starts on the ground floor, where the cafeteria extends to the outside through a terrace covered by a pergola. This terrace connects with an outside garden at a slightly lower level where the exhibition program also can happen. In the upper floors, we find another outdoor space, above the cafeteria, and the areas dedicated to seminar and conference rooms. Located in the tower, they end up shaping the educational program.
Transparency, veiling and lightness are the ideas around which the external appearance of the building revolves at a material level. The building is covered with a perforated metallic skin, which serves as a transition from the outside. It keeps the interior from the views, and offers privacy and protection. The pattern of this aluminum façade reveals a drawing made of schematic arches.
In contrast, inside, the visitor is welcomed by a space full of color, covered in a pink travertine that is present in all public spaces. The waiting rooms are warm, sofas and fabrics offer a friendly atmosphere, also emphasized through the creation of vaulted spaces.
Materiality becomes a fundamental aspect of the project, through the contrast between lightness and exterior sobriety, and the interior, coloured and warm. The project seeks to establish numerous visual and spatial connections with exterior areas, incorporating vegetation into the different parts of the building. The presence of an educational program complements the healthcare function. The center is more than a place of treatment, it is a place of learning and reflection. It is an environment of knowledge exchange, which is carried out in versatile and flexible spaces, interior and interior, and at different levels. The project wants to deal with the difficult question of healthcare architecture through spatial care and generous parallel programs.
The project incorporates other timings and relationships with the body in addition to the treatments that are usually applied to heal.