Study and Consulting for the Design of a Clinic in the Desert
Case 3: Design of a Clinic in Fahoud
The settlements in the oil fields in the inland of Oman are ensembles of single, isolated buildings that do not form a coherent whole. Each building is an isolated object, often designed with a one- size-fits-all solution that is not necessarily responsive to the conditions of the site, the climate or the specific needs of the user.
In this revision of the design for a clinic the principles of passive cooling as well as a user-centred approach were applied. The revised design has the same floor area as the initial proposal but develops different spatial qualities.
The main idea for this design is to create one large roof under which all elements of the clinic can be accommodated: the doctor's and the patient's rooms, the atrium, the patient's small garden as well as the parking for ambulances and visitor's cars (Figure 5).
The roof is a folded, triangulated plane that is formed such that a gable is shown on each front side. It is perforated to provide shading and ventilation according to the orientation and function below and also carries the photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for the operation of the clinic.
Besides the climate-driven changes to the form of the clinic the design also change through a more user-oriented approach to laying out the rooms. Instead of having two parallel, unlit corridors, we rearranged the rooms such that three blocks of rooms, each with a different function and user group, form a triangular, double-height atrium that is naturally light and provides a view to the small garden. This central space gives an immediate and easy orientation for all users. Here, patients can wait and look out into the garden or observe the entrances to the clinic or the examination rooms and know when it is their turn. Instead of planting trees at the parking we gathered all green interventions to form a small garden, which in the desert is a very valuable element, especially for patients. The patient's rooms as well as the doctor's retreats are facing the small garden. The whole clinic is protected from the harsh desert environment by a perimeter wall on three sides that creates a sense of privacy and enclosure.
This case shows, how a design that is driven by creating shaded and ventilated spaces under the specific conditions of the local climate changes the form and typology of a building.
EcoHaus Project, Research & Development, German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), 2018
Team: Prof. Nikolaus Knebel, Maryam Zango Abdu