Design -- General
Cultural and religious issues in healthcare design
Good Morning,

As part of a (ultimately commercial) research project I am seeking information on the importance of cultural and religious issues and themes in the design and construction of hospitals.

I would like to understand how, if at all, architects in the Arabian Gulf and wider Islamic community include religious and cultural considerations in the design and development process for healthcare facilities.

If possible, I would welcome suggestions of hospitals that you, as a professional community, feel have been designed with such considerations in mind.

I thank you in advance for your input.
Jeremy Butcher
Cultural and religious issues in healthcare design

I am an architect practicing in the US with work experience in the Middle East. I am actually working on a hospital project in Dubai now.

I would say that the culture and religion has some impact on the design as follows:

  1. Privacy is a big issue there. A single patient room is becoming the norm. The size of the room there is larger than the US standard due to lots of family visits, also, we include lots of visitor rooms on the bed floors, visitors tend to just "hang out" after visiting the patient.
  2. While visibility into the patient rooms is a big thing in healthcare planning, the privacy of the families inside the rooms is more important, patients and families tend to close the curtains all the time.
  3. Prayer rooms on every bed floor is a must, with its wash room, separate from the public restrooms.
  4. It gets hard to plan areas of the IVF becuase it is a touchy cultural issue not to be able to have kids, we tend to "hide" that clinic and give it a separate entrance.
  5. Men tend to accompany their wives, sisters, daughters into the exam rooms, the US standard does not work there.
  6. Separate locker rooms for doctors, nurses, workers, men and women.
  7. Morgues tend to be larger there due to the body washing procedures and family visitations, we tend to hide it away from any public interface other than families.
These are the main issues that I found in terms of cultural design specifics. I might remeber other things and post later.

Any questions: email me at basem_hammami AT

Basem Hammami
Cultural and religious issues in healthcare design
The Wellcare group of hospitals in Dubai has a well-executed project from your point of context.
Dushyant Nathwani


This site is adjusted only for landscape mode. Please rotate your device for properly using
We are sorry, we are still working on adjusting for Metro IE. Please use another browser for the best experience with our site.