Healthcare Architecture

In the past, hospital were conceived of as isolators: they carved an island out of the spaces that surrounded them and dedicated it exclusively to medical professionals, their technicians and the nursing staff; this was seen as beneficial because it allowed them to administer their services without the least interference with the world outside. Even their site stressed the special status they aspired to: these inward looking molochs were often set in the urban periphery surrounded by a belt of no-man’s-land with the parking lot as the only link to the world outside. They were the stout expression of clear dogma: health is a medical thing. This dogma has collapsed. Hospitals still need to accommodate medical procedures in the most effective way. Since the 1990s, he impact of patient’s experiences on their healing processes – the topic of Evidence Based Design – has been recognized as another crucial aspect of hospital architecture. Moreover, the distinction between the active participation of citizens in promoting their personal health, and the passive surrender of patients to the medical interventions while they are treated in hospitals, is gradually fading away. Innovative healthcare architecture is called for, and that presupposes new distribution models. The days of the general hospital as an autonomous healthcare provider are numbered – new typologies emerge.