Biophilic Design at the Heart of New Egyptian Hospital

Biophilic Design at the Heart of New Egyptian Hospital

Visuals of the Magdi Yacoub Global Heart Centre in Egypt have been released, highlighting the design principles that are expected to speed up patient recovery time in the new 300-bed hospital by 30%. 

Currently under construction in Cairo, the new facility will be the latest outpost of the Aswan Heart Centre (AHC) cardiac research and treatment facility founded by world renowned heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.

Centrally located in Egypt's capital, the facility will serve as a model of health care innovation by increasing the patients and staff physical and emotional connection with the natural environment.

Called ‘Biophilic design’, the Centre's architecture seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature for environmental, economic and health benefits. 

Biophilic buildings are particularly beneficial in hospital and clinical settings where it was found that just increasing the quality of the view in hospital rooms shortened stays by 30%.

"It brings together the latest research on biophilia and the positive impact of nature in clinical settings with our pioneering work on collaborative working environments,” says Nigel Dancey, head of studio at project designers Foster + Partners.

"This is a special project that focuses on giving the best care to the patients and offering them the best natural setting to recover in," she says. 

Through the manipulation of direct and indirect experiences of nature, the design team have created considered, comfortable and nurturing facility. 

They incorporated natural materials, colours, materials, imagery, shapes and geometries, controlled variability, invoked spaciousness, mobility, and cultural/ecological attachment into the design.

It certainly ticks the box on view quality with the shell-like roofscapes of patient rooms facing striking vistas of the Pyramids of Giza, a calming lake and lush landscapes of native flora.

The green campus is interwoven with pedestrian paths, quiet contemplative spaces and several courtyards to bring natural light deep into the ground and first floors where interiors are soft, warm and influenced by Egyptian history.

Inspired by the local traditions of being outdoors during the cooler parts of the day, a large open green terrace on the second floor provides a vital break-out area for the staff and visitors with a canteen, children’s nursery and support spaces for families. 

"Aswan Heart Centre offers state-of-the-art, free-of-charge medical services to the Egyptian people, particularly the underprivileged," says the studio's founder Lord Norman Foster. 

"Lush and verdant, this oasis of paths and parks promotes wellbeing. With its passive design strategy, it is an exemplar of sustainability, responding to the needs of patients and to its locale."

While the leading cause of death can vary widely by country, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is still the world’s biggest killer - responsible for around a third of all deaths every year with 80% of those in low and middle-income countries.

“This demands urgent action with emphasis on quality and excellence at every level,” says Sir Yacoub. “The new Global Heart Centre at the foot of the Pyramids designed by Lord Foster and Foster + Partners exemplifies the ultimate facilities capable of achieving the objectives of the Magdi Yacoub Foundation in terms of care, training and Research, at the highest level, directed at people who need it the most.

We are all proud to be part of this important and meaningful partnership.”