The Hospitable Hospital Room
June 3, 2011
Modernist architects revolutionized hospital design by spreading the gospel of transparency, lightness, and modularity. The idea was that the hospital room could act as a catalyst for in-patient recovery and recuperation through the admission of natural daylight, ventilation, and views.
That concept has spread to just about every city in the world, yet the rigid concrete boxes did little to convince either doctors or patients of architecture’s healing powers. But what if the room itself responded to the patient’s needs, mobilizing walls, windows, or electrical units to attend to the patient’s concerns?
As Co.Design reports, Patient Room 2020 is designed as a plug-and-play environment in which all of the room’s architectural components integrate all aspects of in-patient care, from capturing and relaying vital signs to modulating airflow circulation. Lamenting the disunion between traditional hospital design and technology, the project team maintained a holistic approach through the 8-year long design process. Features such as the Patient Ribbon—a digital screen headboard that displays all data pertinent to the care of the patient—attest to their commitment.
The design is meant to not only facilitate and thereby improve patient care, but to empower the patient to foster well-being and achieve a positive mental state, as factors that would lead to a more rapid recovery.
The room maximizes patient mobility and minimizes physical exertion. Upon entry, the nurse consults a staff resource station which digitally updates information specific to the patient, such as blood type, allergies, or food restrictions. A patient media center at the foot of the patient’s bed facilitates interactions with hospital staff and visitors. There is no bathroom, but, rather, “respite spa”, a safe, restorative space, equipped with digital shower controls, wall mounted bariatric toilets, and waterproof spa interface, among other things. Even guests of the patient are afforded luxuries, like a flip-down bed, a workstation, closet, and wine cooler (!).
The project team hopes to begin applying features of Patient Room 2020 to existing hospitals within the near future. Until then, here are some notable hospitals designs that offer plenty of visual stimuli:
Clinica Monteria by Antonio Sofan, Monteria, Colombia
Physchiatric Hospital Helsingor by BIG, Helsingor, Denmark