Bayt Abdullah Children's Hospice

Location    Kuwait City, Kuwait

 


Program    Bayt Abdullah is a place that allows children to maintain a sense of normalcy as they face varying phases of their life-threatening illnesses.  When completed, it will be the largest inpatient health center in the world dedicated to terminally ill children.


Architects    Alia Al Ghunaim and Gulf Consult of Kuwait

Designers    NBBJ, in Columbus, OH; Lisa Baker, ASID and Mark Perry

The Bayt Abdullah Children's Hospice complex includes a gymnasium, mosque, library, auditorium and emergency area. Expected to be completed in 2011, the hospice features 22 beds and more than 155,000 square feet, including 11 two-bedroom apartments, or chalets, for families and children who are receiving extended care.  Architecturally divided into social, eating and sleeping zones, the chalets will feature the child’s bedroom intentionally designed as a seamless extension of the family room, allowing the child to feel connected with his/her family at all times.

Requirements

Spaces within the complex are designed to allow families to conduct normal daily activities in a non-institutional setting.  Mother and child suites, which are essentially patient rooms with hospital beds, will have living and dining areas for family visits and residential-grade lighting for a comfortable ambiance. The hospice’s rainbow room is a communal space where families come together to pray and, eventually, to say goodbye to their children.

Design

Many of the play areas’ design elements were drawn from research the NBBJ team conducted on educational spaces for children. What they found developed into ideas for structured and unstructured play.  For example, the dining center includes “cocoon” areas for the children.  The major corridor that links the north and south points of the building serves the main play area and is filled with interactive elements to accommodate a range of motor skills and technological interactivity, as well as low-tech imaginary play.

Interior elements draw upon natural themes to bring the outdoors indoors.  The plaza area is designed around a sea motif, a reminder of the water nearby.  Chalet rooms have fiber optic lighting over the bed resembling a sky-blue starry sky.