Yacht-Designing Billionaire Wants To Build A Yacht-Shaped Hospital

Russian banker-turned-designer Vasily Klyukin wants hospitals to be more welcoming. So he’s creating one that looks like a giant boat.

If he could, Russian billionaire Vasily Klyukin would no doubt redesign the world. The banker-turned-designer released a book last year of 32 out-of-this-world futuristic skyscraper designs, most of which resemble nothing similar to our traditional concept of a skyscraper (one is a monumental replica of the Venus de Milo). Now, he’s trying to tackle an issue that plenty of big-name architects have taken on: How do you make a health care facility that people actually want to go to?


The Monaco-based Klyukin’s answer is to make a building that resembles another one of his passions: yachts. His White Sails Hospital and Spa is intended for Tunisia Economic City, a $50 billion megacity a Tunisian businessman plans to build over the next 15 years.

According to Klyukin, the hospital project will be realized with the help of New York-based engineering company Thornton Tomasetti. Klyukin’s press release does, in truth, read like a pre-teen’s journal–the designer is quoted as saying “I was looking forward for this moment and finally it’s happening! My very first building to be constructed!”

Klyukin’s architectural career has thus far been largely aspirational, but it seems like he has the means to make the hospital–or something like it–happen. This is a guy who cofounded a sizable Russian bank and goes to space with Leonardo DiCaprio.

The idea behind White Sails Hospital and Spa is that visitors would feel more like guests on a cruise than patients in a ward. The medical uniforms, Klyukin imagines, would even be tailored to look like sailor’s outfits. The building itself would consist of four sail-shaped towers above a low-rise base. A plethora of balconies would give patients a taste of fresh air, and the hospital would be surrounding by pools.

While sailor outfits might not provide much tangible comfort to sick patients, hospitals are definitely due for a revamp. “Often ignored by front-rank architects, left to corporate specialists who churn out too many heartless buildings, hospitals are a critical frontier for design,” as critic Michael Kimmelman observed in The New York Times last month. Cruise-ship-like experiences can’t cure cancer, but a number of studies have found that health care environments do have an impact on how patients heal. And yes, it would be pretty great to feel like going to the doctor is like stepping onto a luxury cruise ship.


[h/t: designboom]

About the author

Shaunacy Ferro is a Brooklyn-based writer covering architecture, urban design and the sciences. She's on a lifelong quest for the perfect donut.