A hospital’s architecture is perhaps one of the most tricky ones to put together. A hospital is more than just a building or a project, it is an ecosystem of care and treatment. The design is a rather crucial part to the overall environment and usefulness of the building. The very premise has to be to develop a space that is easy to navigate, resourceful and comfortable so as to alleviate the tension through a positive surrounding.
To achieve the right layout and design for a hospital premises a very strategic outlook is needed. The layout has to be functional in accordance with the purpose of the particular unit and also able to facilitate the moving around of both patients and equipment with ease so as to avoid any mishaps. Further, the design has to be achieved in a non intimidating manner so as to make the surrounding feel less stiff and clinical and more like home.
For a patient, there is enough stress as is. In such a time, having a surrounding that is monotonous and rather typical can make one feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, an impactful design, made to boost positivity and encourage a better state of mind is not only fruitful in aesthetics but can actually help one go better through the recovery process and sustain their time in the premises with a lot more ease.
A research conducted under the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2004 examined and found a positive correlation between hospital design and patient recovery, discovering that design is definitely an influence on a patient’s mind and well being.
There’s a lot of different things that can be done to achieve an overall practical yet stunning hospital premise through its architectural and design features. Here are some tips that could prove helpful for such a project:
GIVE A WARM WELCOME
The first spot that comes under notice is the entrance/reception area that one arrives in. It is important that the reception area thus be made with a comforting and welcoming sentiment in mind.
To begin with, the most practical approach for this space would be to have an open design. Having an open layout gives an airy effect while accentuating the illusion of space making a space seem big and much more comfortable. The reception is one area that can be kept slightly different from the overall clinical approach through mild changes brought in by creativity in architecture.
Be it through adding an eye-catching false ceiling, or a textured accent wall which adds something different to the space. You can also choose to add colors in this area to accentuate the positive feeling. However, be wary of the color you pick as it must be appropriate to the space’s purpose as well as well thought out considering patient reaction as well.
You could try soft pastels or soft neutrals to add a pop of color without it being too loud or disrupting to work in the space. Ensure a lot of space to move and sit around while placing the actual reception at a vantage point accessible with ease to ensure comfort.
SIMPLIFY THE LAYOUT
In terms of architecture and design, being expressive through your creations is great. However, for a structure such as a hospital it is better to stick to a simpler approach. When planning the layout and dimensions of rooms and different portions of the hospital, try to stick to generalized dimensions to keep the layout as simple as possible.
This makes it easy to ensure an equal amount of space throughout while also making navigating around a lot easier. While moving into the layout of each floor, there needs to be a balance between an open and closed layout plan. The open approach is needed to create common and open spaces on each floor so as to provide an area to wait or simply as an alternative lounging place for patients for a change of scenery.
Similarly, even the enclosed spaces have to be well placed so as to not isolate from the rest of the portions, giving a sense of inclusion and surrounding while maintaining privacy. The most important thing is to evaluate and develop each portion of a floor to its purpose in a way that makes it fall in place conveniently together.
INCLUDE POCKETS TO THE OUTDOORS
It is well known through research that having views of nature is known to have a calming effect on the human mind. Harnessing the power of nature views can prove to be an asset to a hospital’s architecture.
There are two ways to approach this idea. The first is the creation of greenery ridden outdoor spaces throughout the premises. If the layout can harbor an elaborate garden, it can actually help uplift the aesthetic as well have a positive effect on the mind of visitors and patients.
The outdoor areas can help serve as an escape from the clinical environment inside the hospital. Even if an elaborate outdoor greenery area is not possible, having smaller spaces or belts of greenery circling the periphery of the premises can also be helpful. Secondly, it is essential to ensure that the power of nature reaches every nook and corner of the hospital.
This would mean adding windows or skylights in a strategic manner to ensure that everyone has a natural view to look at and enjoy. Even where such features are not possible, creating patterns and designs through architecture that resonate with elements of nature can prove it be helpful.
FACILITATE NAVIGATION THROUGH DESIGN
Easy navigation has to be top priority while developing the layout for a hospital. It has to be kept in mind that the navigation needs to be simple, easy and clean for both the struggling patients and the rushing caretakers to ensure the best.
While we have established that the layout can be kept open and easy so as to ensure a clear path, there are other architectural features that can also help in navigating through the spaces effectively. To begin with, color coding might help in establishing zones without physically adding partitions.
For Instance, marking the washroom areas in a certain color, while restricted zones in another, while adding the color code to directional boards can make it easy to create an association in the mind of the viewer. Further, the zoning effect can also be created through a slight change in flooring patterns, colors or simply by using different kinds of lighting features keeping in mind that they are not flashy.
Lights in particular can also be very resourceful to mark down clear paths with ease even in dim lighting areas making it a key feature. You could also go for breaks in the moldings and textures to separate one space from the other. It is essential to avoid general zoning solutions such as a stair or elevation as that can prove to be uncomfortable in a hospital setting.
EVOKE COMFORT IN WARDS
Evoking comfort in the individual confines of a patient is rather important. The space around it needs to be developed so as to give a homely feeling, however, personalizing it to each and everyone's taste is impossible.
Therefore it is suggested to create a soothing feeling through features of the room. First comes the color scheme. Since it is a hospital, the color scheme can not be too loud as bright and loud colors run the risk of sparking a reaction or interfering with one’s calm mindset.
It is thus better to stick to a neutral and/or pastel color palette to create a soothing effect through soft hues. Further, rather than having sharp and edgy architectural features, softer shapes and designs can be used throughout the space to evoke a calming effect.
The lighting fixtures too can play a crucial role. Going for warmer tones of lights can prove to be very effective in creating a comfortable environment. Here, natural light can also be brought in to evoke the feeling of being outside while reaping the benefits of natural illumination.
You could also swap regular lighting for smart fixtures to allow some amount of personalisation, helping uplift a person’s mood as they get to modify their environment to their liking.
To sum up, there are a lot of different things to keep in mind while crafting the architecture of a hospital. The design has to be resourceful, careful yet comfortable for the visitors and patients. Small tweaks here and there can help achieve such a design that is both effective and appropriate. Keep the above tips in mind for a hospital project to ace the structure !