King Abdullah Medical City


This major expansion was developed on a 400 hectares (988 acres) plot, and consists of main services buildings and staff housing, with a focus towards dignified care to meet the future needs of the region. An additional 500 beds to the main hospital were created, together with Rehabilitation, Cardiology, Oncology, Neuroscience, Pediatric, Transplant and Day Care Centres.

The expansion works provided a total health solutions city including outpatient clinics, clinical laboratory, research center, management offices, a training center with auditorium, Mosque, nursery, a Data Center, and a Logistics Building.

The staff housing for doctors and medical staff is centered around a quality lifestyle, to encourage staff to join and support the King Abdullah Medical with villas and apartment buildings. These are centered around a shopping center, restaurants, library, a multipurpose hall and a clubhouse with swimming pools and playgrounds.

Lighting Master Plan

The Lighting Master Plan for such a big and complex development needed to be comprehensive, flexible and consistent. Comprehensive because it covered all aspects and scales of the lighting design, from general street illuminance values to technical fixture criteria. Flexible since it should be able to adapt to a variety of different situations, and consistent because it needed to follow the same lighting principles and strategies throughout the entire development.

The plan is based on three main packages of requirements; those are the technical, functional and economical, which come together to form a solid set of guidelines where to base all individual lighting schemes and future development.

Street Lighting

Besides the functional light, a key objective of the proposed street lighting scheme was to denote the road hierarchy of the development, to ease wayfinding and assist in spatial awareness.

The organic design of the poles blends with the surrounding landscape and allows further reach of the light and more uniform results, while Led beacons at the top indicate the main roads of the city, aiding in navigation and location of the Main Hospital.

In order not to overpower the facade and landscape lighting, poles were designed to the same height of the flanking palm trees. In opposition to the neutral white color temperature used in all the city’s roads, the parking lots were lit with warm white color temperature, to achieve a subdued and discrete ambiance.

Landscape Lighting

The main design intent of the landscape lighting scheme was to create a soft and welcoming ambience, while providing users with constant references that would help them navigate through the city. Careful attention was placed on enhancing the unique features of each element (texture, color and gesture), where the general ambiance lighting is the sum of individual lighting strategies. The result is an attractive setting with a studied balance of brightness and contrast, respecting and enhancing the surroundings, and avoiding harsh visual lighting scenes.

The lighting strategies used are consistent throughout the development, and light becomes a language that guides and conveys a message to the user. Paths, steps, ramps, bridges, benches and every other hardscape element has a unique lighting approach that denotes it’s use and adds to the overall lighting design. The softscape is lit considering its height, canopy, shape, density, color, texture and foliage, creating visual references, boundaries, rhythms and targets as necessary.

Main Spine

The main spine is a 2km long green band which articulates the buildings located at either side and links the medical zone with the residential areas. It plays a vital role in structuring the city and providing an area for recreation and community interaction.

The hardscape design suggested sub-divisions of this band using three types of transversal elements; pavements, vegetation strips and water features. These were the target of our lighting design strategy and in conjunction provided the necessary ambience lighting. By enhancing these visual barriers we defined smaller sub-spaces to a human scale, which would be perceived as safe and welcoming. At a larger scale the visual barriers work as reference notes, providing uniformity and consistency throughout the space. The spine is experienced in parts but sensed as a whole, becoming a sequence of different scenes belonging to one single story.

Two additional design elements were added, the Happening and the Invitations. Happenings are unique lighting interventions to create singular spaces along the spine, avoid the homogeneity of a newly designed city and promote human interaction. These “artistic” interventions are linked conceptually and form a sequence of visual experiences. The Invitations draw the pedestrians from the spine and into the buildings, facilitating way finding and establishing a common language.

Facade Lighting

The facade lighting for all the buildings is simple and straight forward. It focused on enhancing the main architectural language and gesture, to create a uniform and contemporary feel across de development, in harmony with the internal lighting projected towards the outside. Special attention was placed in concealing all the lighting equipment within the building’s skin and maintaining energy costs to a reasonable minimum.

Selected buildings received a unique lighting treatment, such as the Main Hospital, the IT Building and the Mosque, to enhance their presence in the city and function as iconic landmarks.

Indoor Lighting

The lighting design scheme for the indoor areas is clean and function oriented. It focused on providing the adequate quality of light for a healthcare program while respecting the look and feel developed by the interior designers. Light sources are mainly concealed in slots, coves and grooves, to achieve a modern and sophisticated ambiance while reducing unnecessary visual pollution.

All public areas are fully automated using DALI system, which controls the light output of each individual source based on the daylight conditions and user’s behaviors, achieving ideal lighting conditions throughout the day and considerable energy costs.