Architecture, Egypt medical centre, Medical cancer centre, Owings & Merrill, Skidmore, SOM

Preview: SOM designs region’s largest cancer centre for Egypt

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Egypt’s New National Cancer Institute (NNCI) will stretch across a nine million square foot campus just outside of Cairo.

Intended to strengthen the institute’s position as the largest comprehensive cancer centre in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, the facility will be able to offer medical services to 1.7 million patients per year, as well as serve as an international nexus of cancer research, education and discourse.

When complete, the medical campus will consist of a 1000-bed hospital with an extensive out-patient centre. It will also include a specialised nursing institute, hotel and housing, and facilities for research, training, faculty and conferences.

“The Grand Courtyard, which resides between the hospital and outpatient centre will provide patients and visitors with a large, calming and shaded venue within the campus,” said Habjan. “Many patients with little means will travel long distances from all corners of Egypt, as well as neighbouring countries with their family members in search of critical treatment at NNCI. Many will arrive without an appointment and for them in particular, this courtyard will serve as a welcome extension of the waiting lounges inside.”

To be located on a gently sloping, 35-acre site in Giza’s Sheikh Zayed City, NNCI’s design meets the client’s vision and phasing flexibility, and responds to the regional climate. In achieving this, SOM created a unified system of functional modules that are woven together via ‘circulation spines’ and arranged around landscaped courtyards.

“The circulation spines offer patients, visitors and staff access to the various campus programmes as well as a network of amenities including cafes, lounges, prayer rooms, retail, paediatric activity areas and day care,” said Scott Habjan, associate director at SOM.

“The staff spine not only provides an efficient means to traverse the entire length of the campus, it also fosters a sense of community through informal and spontaneous interactions between clinicians, researchers and students,” he added.

According to the architects, the centrepiece of the new campus is its paired in-patient and out-patient component, which total four million square feet. While the in-patient hospital is divided into six modules, the out-patient facility comprises a sequence of four volumes. Both are interspersed with courtyards developed in collaboration with landscape architecture firm Cracknell.

The complete case study will be published in Middle East Architect’s February issue.