Whether hospitals collapse depends not only on how many people get sick at the same time, but also on how these buildings are designed. Experts in socio-health architecture are clear that improving the design of hospitals is key to tackling impending health emergencies. In Australia, for example, they are determined to rely on new technologies that enable them to deliver network healthcare to reduce the demand for acute care in hospitals by up to 30% over the next decade.
How to adapt hospitals to pandemics was discussed at length at the recent conference “Facilitating health, care and well-being through design research” on socio-health architecture.ARCH22), held Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and contacted at Developing Scholar.
In the fifth edition of this congress, special attention was paid to pioneering projects in the design of spaces that increase the well-being of patients.
The effect of the epidemic on health architecture
One of the topics to be discussed in this forum, which should be postponed due to the pandemic in 2021, was that there was no doubt that Covid-19 would have an impact on the design and adaptation of hospitals. Evidence of this was a study presented by British researchers analyzed the environmental and infrastructure requirements necessary to adapt the same room to different clinical functions.
Also an interesting dutch studio evaluated operational strategies and design solutions implemented during the pandemic to increase ICU capacity, separate patient and staff routes, or maintain physical distancing.
The diversity of the participating countries made it possible to examine very different adaptations culturally. train cars It was converted into rooms to treat infectious patients in India.
Another interesting contribution, this time from Australia, pilot project It proposes a more sustainable healthcare system due to reduced capital and recurring expenditure, greater integration with the community and greater accessibility for patients. All this is driven by a technological foundation that makes it possible to deliver healthcare online digitally, thereby reducing the demand for acute care in hospitals by up to 30% over the next decade.
Hospitals that make us feel good
In the center of Rotterdam there is a building designed by him. EGM ArchitectsDeveloping what could be the future of healthcare architecture integrated into the urban fabric, despite its large scale. Within the same complex are landscaped terraces, covered patios or outdoor gardens, as well as a wide range of services, shops and facilities. It was even taken into account when designing it to have the necessary connectivity with public transport and active modes of transport.
Another project of the same team. Reinier Haga Orthopedic ClinicWhere the primary goal of the management team is to delay as much as possible the feeling of being sick or injured in order to improve the patient’s response to rehabilitation, surgery or treatment. For design purposes, this goal has had an impact on the bright living spaces around a covered patio that houses the cafeteria and visitor area.
Residence Zierik7 Allevo (also in the Netherlands) is a good example. Designed for people with dementia or physical disabilities, designed by the architecture studio. Gortemaker Algra Feenstra. There is a school and a supermarket next to the residence plot.
Residence boundaries are not marked with visible physical barriers to allow for integration in the neighborhood and coexistence with schoolchildren. For example, to prevent people from leaving the campus from a location other than access to the plot, there is a deep area of wild vegetation that discourages residents from following that road. In addition to having a design that encourages residents’ autonomy, those who need it wear a geolocation bracelet and are assigned various routes with registered milestones so they can safely roam freely.
The star-shaped distribution of the residence allows the façade surface to be increased, allowing each person living there to have their own entrance door from the outside.
The building is mainly on the ground floor where the apartments and common rooms are located, while the staff and therapy areas are located on the first floor. The common rooms are located in the central area of the residence and serve as meeting and dining areas. Each has its own character with different themes such as gardening, music, reading, fishing or sports, so residents can choose according to their tastes and interests.
Another example is complex Pink Tower Huisdesigned by the studio EGM, which precisely emphasizes this last point. The people living there must be artists or scientists, and it is their hobbies and cultural interests that determine the possibility of living in this complex.
With more than 40 annual concerts, sculpture and painting workshops, a library and temporary exhibitions open to the community, the Rosa Spier complex is home to an intergenerational community with a high cultural level adapting to the growing demand for care and service. It receives support from its residents, thus allowing people with higher degrees of addiction to stay there their entire lives, enjoying their passion and interest in a stimulating environment.
If war, climate change, energy crisis and viruses allow, the next congress will be held in Helsinki in June 2024. This new edition will focus on three themes: the impact of design on people’s emotional and social well-being; the impact of design on transforming care and corporate culture; and design as a therapeutic tool, environments that heal, support and heal.
We hope the next edition will include more research and good Hispanic and Latin American practices to advance this area of knowledge in our local contexts.
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