The October 2012 issue of Metropolis Magazine includes an insightful article chronicling the unique considerations Western architecture firms must address when designing healthcare facilities for oversees markets. From the article:
For health-care designers working in far-ﬂung regions, learning to patch the seams that split as West meets East (and Middle East), is as important as calculating volumes, systems, and energy loads. In China, designers need to produce structures that integrate best-in-class Western technologies with time-tested traditional Chinese medicine. In India, developers want new hospitals to conform to the thousand-year-old practice of vastu shastra—the Hindu version of China’s feng shui. In the Islamic world, facility plans must include prayer and ablution rooms, along with gender-speciﬁc waiting areas. And plans must be jiggered to ensure that not a single toilet in any facility faces Mecca.
Richard Cork ‘s The Healing Presence of Art, A History of Western Art in Hospitals, looks like an excellent publication, and the first of its kind. Published in March by Yale University Press, the publisher summarizes:
Fascinated by the astonishingly rich history of art in hospitals, the well-known critic and art historian Richard Cork has written a brilliant account of the subject. These works, which include masterpieces of Western art, have been produced from Renaissance Florence and Siena to the 20th century. Piero della Francesca made a painting for a hospital in Sansepolcro, as did Hans Memling in Bruges, Matthias Grünewald in Isenheim, El Greco in Toledo, Rembrandt in Amsterdam, William Hogarth in London, Vincent van Gogh in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and Marc Chagall in Jerusalem.
The book’s sumptuous images offer a rich range of subjects, from Francisco Goya’s dramatic confrontations with suffering to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s sublime, airborne celebrations of resurrection and heavenly ecstasy. Some, like Leonardo da Vinci’s incisive drawings, are based on uncompromising firsthand study of hospital patients. Others explore a redemptive world where Christ is born, orphans are rescued, and plague victims are given shelter. In this wide-ranging survey, Cork investigates how such artworks have been used to humanize hospitals, to alleviate their clinical bleakness, and to offer genuine, lasting pleasure to patients, staff, and visitors.
It is definitely going on my Christmas list.
The drab barrier – erected in 2010 a stone’s throw from patient rooms on the fourth and fifth floors to hide newer mechanical systems – presented such a dismal sight that nurses would avoid putting patients in those rooms. Whenever space became available, they would move patients from the west side, with the view of the plain wall, to the coveted east side, where light bounces off the waves of the East River and a steady stream of boat traffic passes Roosevelt Island.
The artist explains:
That unlike gallery browsers, patients would face his painting for hours and even days. He hoped someone staring at the complex shards might “allow the color to open up other ideas of possibilities or considerations of what might be going on in their life,” he said.
Jean-Philippe Pargade‘s Paris based architecture studio is receiving attention for a recently inaugrated private hospital located outside of Lille, France. Pictured above, the hospitality inspired hospital includes 225 beds, 10 operating rooms, and well as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and nuclear medicine units. Color blocks of spring hues matched with large windows and swaths of white, allow for clever way-finding clues in a light and crisp environment. The windows are the most strikingly unique element of the building, featuring flower motifs by artist Gary Glaser in incorporated into glazing by Ace Glass.
This hospital is not Pargade’s first project in the field of healthcare design. In 2007 they worked with Gary Glaser to colorize the Sarthe-et-Loir Health Center, Using a similar vocabulary, the firm explains that the design “creates tension between the rural landscape and the technological elegance of the architecture. The sensitive facade of silk-screen-printed glass is animated by the musical rhythm of the windows. Colour plays a major role and reveals the vital contribution to the clinics that has been made by the use of art work.”
A similar color scheme and ideology can be seen in the beautiful 2012 facade renovation at the military teaching hospital in Saint-Mande “which creates a hyphen between the city and the Bois de Vincennes, an architecture of transitions and passages, introducing fluidity between the countryside and architectural stratifications of different ages that are present at the site.”
Melbourne’s new $1 billion (Aus) Royal Children’s Hospital, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II was Designed in a joint venture between Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart Architects (BLBS), with US-based HKS as international advisors. The RCH received the ‘International Interior Design Award’ at the 2012 Emirates Glass LEAF Awards, which took place during this year’s London Design Festival.
A new job in the realm of interior design has pushed posting on this blog to the end of my to-do list. In my absence, I’ve been keeping a pinterest board about healthcare design. i hope to resume more consistent posting again and elaborate on many of the “pins” I’ve posted over the past months, but in the meantime here is the link:
Rock Health presents an insightful talk by Bridget Duffy of Experia Health, a leading patient experience design. Dr Duffy is an engaging speaker and I find her to be one of the most relateable, convincing advocates for humanizing the healthcare experience.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaCxTQvRuoA?rel=0&w=560&h=315%5D
An interesting video that provides an introduction to the extensive art program incorporated in the new John Hopkins hospital building, the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Over 70 artists have created over 500 works for the new space, funded largely by Michael Bloomberg. It’s great that such a high profile institution has an entire website devoted to the arts program in their new facility, and exciting to see a major philanthropist so prominently involved in a project to include art in a healthcare space. A nice overview is available via a Bloomberg press release here. And a short summery, from the project’s flickr page:
- A massive exterior work by Spencer Finch, who transformed the glass and steel curtain wall enclosure of the 1.5 million-square-foot building into a shimmering composition of color and light.
- 11 super-sized sculptures by set designer Robert Israel
- unique window shades by Jim Boyd, inspired by Baltimore’s folk tradition of painting door and window screens
- a few hundred works of art inspired by beloved children’s books, providing “medicine for the soul.”
Indianna Design/Fabrication Studio Projectione recently completed a large-scale installation at the still-under-construction Simon Family Tower at the Riley Hospital for Children. The video above chronicles the installation, and provides fun insight into the complexities of actually installing such an ambitious element in a project. The Sunrise installation covers 768 feet of the first floor atrium and includes over 3800 unique components making up the image and surface, each with a different color, scale, and distance from the wall. From Projectione’s press release:
The Riley Sunrise aims at representing imagery at multiple scales for all audiences. The vibrancy of the colors and symbolism of each shape or “pixel” speaks to the child, peaking their interest and lifting their spirits. The complexity and patterns generated speak to all generations and encourage discussion and interpretation. Our concept is an abstraction of an image into its main colors and uses graphic symbols as the representation of each pixel. Each symbol is independently mounted and varies its distance from the wall, creating a three dimensional graphic that is read from across the room and up close. Because of the 3D variation, the graphic will visually change as users walk by and can be experienced differently each time….Our hope is that these super-graphics can serve as a pleasant distraction for visitors of the hospital and lead to discussions that can re-focus a conversation towards something positive and uplifting.
An important opinion piece from this week’s NY Times, which reminds us that even in the best built environment, with the most earnest attempt to treat patients as people, much of the healthcare experience is going to be fundamentally difficult for those experiencing it. From the article:
“The survey evaluates behaviors that are integral to high-quality care: How good was the communication in the hospital? Were patients educated about all new medications? On discharge, were the instructions the patient received clear?
These are important questions. But implied in the proposal is a troubling misapprehension of how unpleasant a lot of actual health care is. The survey measures the “patient experience of care” to generate information important to “consumers.” Put colloquially, it evaluates hospital patients’ level of satisfaction.
The problem with this metric is that a lot of hospital care is, like pleurodesis, invasive, painful and even dehumanizing. Surgery leaves incisional pain as well as internal hurts from the removal of a gallbladder or tumor, or the repair of a broken bone. Chemotherapy weakens the immune system. We might like to say it shouldn’t be, but physical pain, and its concomitant emotional suffering, tend to be inseparable from standard care.”
Consulting and design firm HDR has an informative series of three videos tackling the basics of evidence based design in a lively and accessible way with a focus on specific applications of ideas in three different hospitals. The videos can’t be embedded in this blog, but click through to their website and have a peek. Their projects strive to give patients control through bedside remotes managing temperate and window-shades, minimize disruption in rooms by allowing staff to re-stock supplies from the outside hallway via a storage closet with doors to both the hallway and the room, as well reduce noise levels through design and simple interventions like requiring staff to keep their cell phones on vibrate. All in all it’s less than ten minutes of footage and a really nice introduction to practical applications of evidence based design from a more strategic planning perspective.
This cuckoo bananas wayfinding system by German design studio büro uebele visuelle kommunikation can be found in the Offenbach Hospital in Offenbach Germany. It’s a creative, bold, completely non-clinical approach that I imagine quite dominates the patient experience. In my opinion it seems a little conceptual, and a little cluttered to be totally effective in a large scale healthcare facility. Yet I’m always excited to see out-of-the box solutions to tricky elements of the healthcare experience, so I appreciate the bold whimsical patterns and unusual approach taken here. From the buro uebele project literature:
geometrical coloured patterns guide visitors to their destination and lighten the mood of this sterile setting. each of the numerous locations has its own combination of pattern and colour to set it apart, then each visitor can identify “their” colour and pattern that will guide them through the hospital complex. the ward reception areas are identified by large areas of characteristically coloured, patterned wallpaper, with identical designs on the counters and doors. this visual coding gives these areas their own distinct identity. the system is based on a highly flexible concept that can be easily and quickly modified.