Wednesday, February 18, 2015

International Healthcare Design

By: Brittney Mount

During my research for my children’s rehabilitation center, I found that Western medicine advances have caused the design of healthcare facilities to lean more towards the economical approach rather than the well-being of the actual patients. This discovery led me to look into international healthcare design, mostly in China and Japan, which I plan to incorporate a few of their common tactics into the design of my facility.
In China, they design buildings based on tactical passive green design. Their buildings are typically long and narrow for optimal sun and air exposure. Most do not exceed twenty-four meters in width, and if they do they incorporate light wells. It is typical to have at least fifty percent of the patient’s rooms to be facing the south. It is also very common for there to be a multitude of buildings instead of cramming all of the program into one building, this allows for the maximum amount of daylight to reach the spaces. Their architecture is also typically done through a modular design, which allows for easy adaptations to new medical advances and easy expansion for the building.
The Chinese culture requires the incorporation of nature into the healing environment, this is another factor of the passive green design. Access to green spaces throughout the program is a necessity. The Chinese culture also focuses on the concept of yin and yang, or the balance between the body, environment, and social factors. The dignity of the patient is assured through privacy and their well-being the center of the space. It is believe based on evidence-based design that a patient recovers much quicker when placed in a private room as opposed to a double.
The Japanese traditions are similar to the Chinese. They require the incorporation of nature within the building not just quick access to it a health garden, which are typically accessed at ground level along with on the rooftop. They have multiple spaces be adjustable to accommodate for different functions. Japan spends nearly half as much on healthcare than the United States, so economic design is very important. Concrete is a common material due to its cost and precast capabilities. Their designs typically involve mass produced spaces, such as bathrooms.

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