Healthcare organisations, like any other, are constantly looking to deliver the best care to patients and their families. A big part of such a community-level responsibility lies in the hands of creatives, who tailor the infrastructure and interior atmosphere. KGD Architecture, an all-round firm offering architectural, engineering and interior design services to a variety of residential and commercial verticals, including healthcare and hospitality, shares its projects to better understand healthcare design trends. The practice’s executive director, Ajay Gupta presents inspiring case studies from the diverse portfolio of his multidisciplinary firm.
Gupta feels that healthcare, private or corporate, has finally settled into an alignment with the insurance system and correctional pricing. “Home care, preventive care, alternative healthcare, technologically driven diagnostic and treatment systems, and technologically-driven healthcare management systems are helping shape up the future of this industry,” he states. The advancement in scientific research in healthcare architecture has made designing hospitals a state-of-the-art discipline that improves qualitative standard, reduces construction cost and improves the healing environment. According to Gupta, decentralising the various processes of healthcare to make them more human-centric is critical.
Designers are recognising the benefits of flexible, multipurpose spaces. From featuring wheeled partitions in emergency rooms to creating shell spaces in medical office buildings, architects help healthcare administrators treat more patients and maximise square footage. Plus, materials like copper, proactive pigments, indigo lighting, etc, protect against the spread of infection are also considered. Creatives are also incorporating biophilic design to connect communal spaces to daylight and nature, which promotes a calming environment. For instance, floor-to-ceiling windows, glass curtain walls and skylights reduce the need for artificial light and help improve patient and staff moods. In private spaces such as patient rooms, where vegetation is not feasible, nature can be accessed through artwork and even earth-hued tones on finishes, walls and floors.
Many designers are also turning their attention to medical staff. Providing them comforts influences job satisfaction as well as patient care. Spacious and well-equipped break rooms, full kitchens, sleeping spaces, access to outdoors and nature — all contribute to a happy, healthy workforce.
“Redundancies and in-efficiencies in the infrastructure causes a domino effect in how a center works and the patient’s experience. It ultimately impacts the cost and convenience, a burden patients have to endure,” says Gupta, adding that rather thinking about fixing the future, the present need and momentum of the sector needs to be woven into its design. The needs of a facility are evolving rapidly, making it difficult to forecast with certainty. This is why flexibility is a basic feature to keep the design from becoming obsolete in the face of changing needs and technologies.