Healthcare design
Allison Arieff of the New York Times writes this week on the on the massive design shortcomings of modern health care facilities on her restricted blog Living Design. She says:

“A recent eight-year study at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands (pdf, 3.1 mb, 34 slides), in the Netherlands, concluded that “hospitals are built catastrophes, anonymous institutional complexes run by vast bureaucracies, and totally unfit for the purpose they have been designed for.” The study recommended radical solutions, like shopping-mall-inspired models for future healthcare facilities and the creation of wellness centers (much like ancient public baths). More specifically, the study advocates things like “dayrooms that invite” (rooms in patient wings that serve as centers of community activity, featuring things like morning coffee, fireplaces and a piano — can you imagine?); cafes that serve hospital employees as well as the neighborhood; open-air courtyards; light-filled corridors that encourage socialization and, most importantly, are easy to navigate. (The findings from this project are gathered together in the smartly written and beautifully designed book, “The Architecture of Hospitals.”)

(via Scott Smith’s blog Smartspace)