Healthcare Architecture

Designing Hospitals in Asia With Cultural Sensitivity

Three Western projects in Asia reveal how even subtle cultural differences can significantly impact the design of hospitals.

  How can architects expand Western science and medicine into parts of the world with different cultural and traditional values? Western designers have been designing healthcare facilities across the world since colonial times. For centuries, the flow of medical knowledge — as with the flow of military and financial power — was one-sided. But over the past two decades, as…

Bill Thomas: The Nursing Home Abolitionist

With his "Green House model," Thomas redefined the long-term care environment and turned the old nursing home model upside down.

For decades the popular image of the typical nursing home has been one of confinement—a sort of hybrid hospital/prison. It features zonked-out old people tied to wheelchairs nodding off in long, featureless corridors or crying out for help from steel-framed beds. Small wonder that elder moms and dads pledge their offspring to “never send me to a nursing home, I’d…

Creative Deficiency

We spend more than $20 billion a year on the design and construction of new health-care facilities in the United States. And yet, from a design perspective, the vast majority of these projects are banal, at best. Why is the bar set so low for hospital design?

Radical Collaborations

I never thought that a place like the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI) could exist in the real world. Yet, as I found out, radical collaborations happen every day here. Though everyone talks about how great cross-disciplinary collaboration is, in reality, the difficulties of getting two completely different sets of people to speak the same language, much less to…

New Interior Designers Speak

I have occasion to meet and know many fledgling interior designers and I’m convinced that the talent and drive they bring to the profession will raise the bar for the practice of design as well as the design business. Seeing so much promise and opportunity, I’m curious to know what the profession is doing to nurture this new talent. How…

Want To Design Better Hospitals? Put Them in Walkable Communities

There is a wide disconnect between the Fit City movement and how hospitals and healthcare facilities are designed.

The 20th Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) concluded this spring with a rousing speech by Dr. Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the UCLA School of Public Health. You may have seen him hosting the four-part documentary Designing Healthy Communities on PBS, which previewed the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) just released report Weight of…

Design Guide NYC 2012: Flatiron

Centered around the iconic Flatiron Building, the area boasts an array of design destinations, lovely parks, celebrated dining options, and a glut of retail shops and showrooms. Here, we’ve listed the area’s best. Check out the Metropolis Design Guide for Design Week events and highlights from New York’s most design-forward neighborhoods. And look for the printed version of the Metropolis Design…

Evidence-based Design

Recently a friend and her son visited a modern healthcare facility and, on the way to their relative’s room, came across the well-appointed lobby with sculptural features, art on the walls and warm colors. “Wonder what that’s costing?” said the son. “That’s one area they might save on healthcare costs.” My initial response, when I heard this, was that a…

Witnessing Evolution at the Solar Decathlon

Darwin knew it when he saw it in 1837. He stepped off the HMS Beagle and observed species that had adapted to the unique environment of the Galapagos Islands; from this he proposed the theory of evolution. On the banks of the Potomac, for the next week, you too can see evolution. Not biological evolution, but rather building evolution. In…

Q&A: Pliny Fisk III & Gail Vittori

We at Metropolis have a great fondness for Pliny Fisk III. When we first visited him at his nascent experimental compound on the outskirts of Austin, TX there was no USGBC, no LEED, no Energy Star, and only a few of us talked about environmental sustainability and the necessity for great and far-reaching innovation in everything from building materials to…

Modernism Mummified

The Manufacturer’s Hanover Trust Company building at 510 Fifth Avenue, New York. The lower levels are being renovated. The ancient Egyptians were the ur-preservationists, but I have always thought that there was something perverse about their method of immortalizing dead kings. The first part of the process, carried out by skilled professionals, was to extract all the internal organs of…