Russian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City

Vasily Klyukin says White Sails Hospital and Spa will be 'most pleasant in the world'

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The Independent Culture

A Russian billionaire has designed a huge boat-shaped hospital for the new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City.

Vasily Klyukin, 38, claims the White Sails Hospital and Spa will be the “most pleasant hospital in the world”.

Doctors and nurses will have to wear “marine uniforms” and the concept aims to make patients feel more like “guests on a cruise”.

With four skyscrapers as the “sails”, it will sit on an artificial lake in the new city, which is being built in stages by the Tunisian Government on a budget of $50 billion (£30 billion).

Mr Klyukin, who made his fortune as co-founder of Russian commercial bank Sovcombank, has previously designed yachts and hopes his boat-inspired design will be his first building to be constructed.

He said the idea came to him because of his frequent hospital visits to check his condition before he flies into space with Virgin Galactic next year.

The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.

“That is why I know this feeling very well,” he said. “Every time I'm approaching the white building of the clinic, I don't feel any joy.

“But I would like to show [people] a hospital where there is no room for fear.”

The White Sails Hospital and Spa is being built by international engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti with investment from Saudi Arabia’s Lalei Al Barakah.

The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.

It will contain several international and local hospitals, a medical college, laboratories and facilities for exercise.

The interior design for the hospital has not yet been completed but Mr Klyukin claims it can be completed within four years.

According to Tunisia Economic City planners, it will be one of the first buildings constructed, in the “medical city” area.

Districts have also been designated for the media, sport, business, finance, universities, industry and a port.

The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.

A new “Old Town” will even be built in the city, being constructed in the north-eastern town of Enfedha, to “merge the past to the future”.

The project, inspired by the construction of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, aims to boost tourism to Tunisia, international trade, finance, media and capitalise on the medical tourism industry.

It was unveiled earlier this month by Mustapha Bin Jaafar, President of Tunisia's Constituent Assembly, who came into power following the 2011 Arab Spring, when autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown.

He emphasised the jobs and other possible benefits for Tunisian people and called the Tunisia Economic City "a necessity" in response to criticism over spending on the project instead of using the money to address rural poverty and infrastructure problems.