Alessandro Caruso Architects reveal design inspiration for Allam Diabetes Centre

Design Inspiration – Allam Diabetes Centre

We are as proud as punch the the Allam Diabetes Centre has won several awards!   So, for anyone interested in architecture and design, we reveal the design inspiration.

Alessandro Caruso Architects Win International Architecture Award      International Award Win Alessandro Caruso Architects Allam Diabetes Centre

Alessandro Caruso Architects – Background

Alessandro Caruso Architects (ACA) is a small team of innovative architects which operate on a national level, specialising in healthcare projects.

In 1994, co-founder Alex Caruso had a serious motorbike crash and spent a long time in hospital.  Indeed, the environment was functional, but poorly designed in terms of mental health.  Therefore, he promised himself, if he recovered, to emphasize wellbeing in his designs.  That is, to help other people feel better and improve their lives.

So, ACA’s mission is to design happier and healthier environments for everyone: to live, work, visit, heal or study in.

Allam Diabetes Centre – Background

The Allam Diabetes Centre, designed for Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, is the hospital’s Diabetes Centre of Excellence in Yorkshire.

In fact, the main funder Dr Allam, set the brief to create a positive architectural statement at Hull Royal Infirmary (HRI).

Initially, a global architecture practice won the competition for development. However, the design didn’t satisfy Dr Allam’s aspirations, so he made the decision to let them go.

Due to a long-term working relationship, the Trust admire Alex’s creative design responses and enthusiasm to previous projects completed.  Therefore, they invited ACA to present an alternative design to Dr Allam. As a small, local and family practice, we boast a more personable and less commercial approach.  Indeed, ACA demonstrated that we could not only be more adaptable and flexible, but also design a building to exceed expectations.

Therefore, Dr Allam immediately commented that Alex is a passionate architect, leading a talented design team. Plus, his design reflected the initial brief for a state-of-the-art landmark.

Allam Diabetes Centre – Design Inspiration

As mentioned earlier, Dr Allam set the brief to create a positive architectural statement at HRI.  Firstly, wanted to improve the local street scene.  Secondly, to attract high-calibre research staff and funding streams into the region.

Design Inspiration – Body Organs

With this is mind, Alex was keen to unleash his creativity. For instance, the anatomy of the major organs affected by diabetes, reflected in the curved lines, inspired the building’s organic plan.  Moreover the skin of porcelain cladding is a symbol of protection for such organs.  Usually, buildings don’t have curves, as building in straight lines is far easier. However, taking the general geometry of the organs, ACA’s curved design creates a salutogenic effect to embrace and welcome people in.  Hospital patients can often feel intimidated as they enter the premises.  Therefore, the ground floor reception is at human scale for a gentle approach. This opens into a large atrium with two floors for research and consulting rooms, offices, stores and a garden roof terrace for relaxation and reflection.


Design Inspiration – Insulin

Additionally, glazed surfaces with uniquely designed patterns inspired by the molecular structures of insulin intertwine with the solid panels.  Thus, the complexity of the molecular structure mirrors the complexity of the condition and the support required to keep people healthy.

Design Inspiration – Local Heritage

During the design process, ACA aimed to complement the hospital surroundings taking inspiration from a local listed building.  Alex says:

For a new project, I walk around the area in search of noticeable buildings that may influence the lines of what is about to start. Can you recognise the influence this beautiful building has had on its design?



International Award Win Alessandro Caruso Architects Allam Diabetes Centre

Design Inspiration – Culture

For the finish, Alex explains:

As the Allam family are a major benefactor to the Trust, I also took inspiration from Egyptian style architecture.  Particularly the selection of marble look and gold materials to acknowledge the family’s origins.


A significant challenge was the budget and cost of the materials.  So after value engineering, we selected a porcelain cladding in lieu of marble and powder coated aluminium in lieu of anodized gold aluminium.

Allam Family Testimonial

In the words of Ehab Allam:

I am very pleased with Alex and the design team’s response to the brief; to design the Allam Diabetes Centre, as a recognisable and memorable landmark at the front of HRI.


My family and I are proud to be associated with such an iconic building.  Its beautiful and inspired design has both lifted and transformed the local street scene to an unprecedented level for the area.


A twin building is also under construction at the entrance of Castle Hill Hospital a few miles outside of Hull, in Cottingham. This will be home to The Allam Endoscopy Clinic.

Ehab Allam explains:

ACA’s design of the Allam Diabetes Centre also fulfilled our aspirations for a twin building, the Allam Endoscopy Centre.  Both buildings represent an important symbol of my family’s contribution to the city of Hull.





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