HKS present design for modern hospital on historical site in Jordan
The conceptual design approach for the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) was based on the historical background of a proud, ancient city. Amman can trace its roots back thousands of years – it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. This prompted the design team to seek design clues in the very core of the ancient quarters of the city, mostly on the Roman ruins and Umayyad temples. The goal in the design of KHCC was to create the premier cancer research and treatment facility for Jordan and surrounding countries that reflect Amman’s rich historical past whilst showcasing modern technological advancements.
Amman was built on seven hills, or Jabals, which prompted the city to enact a building code that would control building height based on low or high areas. A city built on Jabals and Wadis (hills and ravines) is that of an uneven, urban grid that lends diversity to the buildings that are forced to follow sometimes whimsical layouts driven by the land, and add a particular texture to the city’s skyline. When viewed from the south, the building attempts to evoke elements of the old city in texture and height, following window openings and integrating it to the vegetation in the green belt. The west and south sides open up with large expanses of glass, allowing natural light to filter in to waiting and family areas.
Throughout the building, glass ‘pierces’ the stone surface to look as if jewels were protruding out of it in various angles. This glass treatment continues down the middle of the inpatient and outpatient buildings, creating a glass spine that contains vertical circulations as well as bridges connecting both wings. The spine also contains a cafeteria and rest areas for families and staff. By using natural materials and rational design – as well as simple, local construction techniques – KHCC attempts to show that a modern building can be achieved that respects the past yet shows the way to the future for all Jordanians.