Patient-Friendly Design Is Prescribed for Health Facilities

Event: Building Type Awards Symposium — Health Facilities Winners
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.10.09
Speakers: Joan L. Saba, AIA, FACHA, NCARB — Principal, NBBJ; Charles Siconolfi, AIA — Director, Health Care Practice, HOK; Joseph Tattoni, AIA — Principal, ikon.5
Organizers: AIA New York Chapter
Sponsors: Patrons: Cosentino North America; The Rudin Family; Syska Hennessy Group; Lead Sponsors: Arup; Dagher Engineering; The Durst Organization; HOK; Mancini Duffy; Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Sponsors: AKF Group; Building Contractors Association; FXFOWLE Architects; Hopkins Foodservice Specialists; Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti; JFK&M Consulting Group; KI; Langan Engineering & Environmental Services; MechoShade Systems; New York University; Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Rogers Marvel Architects; Steelcase; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Tishman Realty & Construction; VJ Associates; Weidlinger Associates; Zumtobel Lighting/International Lights

(L-R): CHOMP Expansion by HOK; Building for the Third Century by NBBJ; The center for Wellness by ikon.5.

Courtesy AIANY

Utilitarian and sterile, the modern hospital has typically favored function over form. But recently, medical professionals have started considering the evidence that good design contributes to patients’ wellness. The Health Facilities category of the AIANY and Boston Society of Architects Building Type Awards recognizes architecture firms that have brought excellent design to health care-related building projects. A symposium brought together representatives from the three winning firms: Joan L. Saba, AIA, FACHA, NCARB, of NBBJ, for the Building for the Third Century at Massachusetts General Hospital; Charles Siconolfi, AIA, of HOK, for the Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula (CHOMP) Expansion; and Joseph Tattoni, AIA, of ikon.5, for The Center for Wellness at the College of New Rochelle.

The Building for the Third Century will provide much-needed patient rooms and procedure spaces for the busy Harvard-affiliated hospital. Saba described NBBJ’s design, which includes open atria and garden spaces organized around a “cracked square” — the floor plan features a diagonal line of public spaces that interrupts the broad areas of private patient rooms and nurses’ stations.

Similarly, HOK’s addition to CHOMP elaborates an existing diagonal that organizes the hospital’s floor plan. For this project, the intention is to respect the overall shape as well as the fine details of the original 1972 building by Edward Durell Stone. With floor-to-ceiling windows at corridor terminations and in patient rooms, HOK sought to improve patients’ experience by visually connecting them with the surrounding bucolic coastal landscape.

The design of ikon.5’s Center for Wellness aligns with the College of New Rochelle’s educational mission, according to Tattoni, by aiming “to educate about total wellness, a complete body/mind preparedness to approach the world.” It does so through spaces that guide students through the center’s several functions: gymnasium, classroom, meditation spaces, and natatorium. The center’s use of granite blocks inside and out, as well as its broad roof garden, integrates the building with the college campus aesthetics.

Although each project dealt with very different circumstances and clients — from a leafy college campus to a cramped urban teaching hospital — symposium moderator Richard Thomas challenged the award winners to describe the themes common to each project. “If we were here 10 years ago, I don’t think we would be seeing projects with this concern for the whole of the human experience,” said Siconolfi. Thomas agreed, citing health care clients’ increased attentiveness to the “principles of patient-friendly design,” backed by scientific studies that show the measurable effects of architecture on patient outcomes.