Architecture Art of Healing
Contractor AIIAGD Arch, MS Arch & UD (USA) Doctor of Architecture (Honoris Causa) Doctor of Architecture in Housing (Honoris Causa) Padma Bhusan Awardee
Healthcare is an important part of the society and needs utmost care while being designed. We at Architect Hafeez Contractor believe that despite being very technical in its own accord lot of creativity and vitality can be added to the architecture to make it functional and yet pleasant for the users. While the whole ambiance of the hospital resonates some sort of gloominess and mundanity its design can restore vitality and nourishment for the users.
The major points that have to be kept in mind while designing a hospital is simplified planning, importance of natural lighting, sustenance during hazards, stimulating interiors, signage planning and handicap friendly environment.
The planning of the hospital is very vital in proper functionality of the architecture. The different major zones viz. Out-patient department, In-patient department and emergencies should be effectively segregated and overlapped inorder to prevent chaos and easy accessibility. The important point to be kept in mind while planning is to take care of the services and common areas like waiting and canteens. This has been aptly done in our Healthcare projects at AHC, like in Apollo Indraprastha hospital, Delhi; the core idea of creating a central spine atrium plaza from which the entire design sets off. The plan is also an early example of the central circulation spine, two major blocks of the hospital are connected by the atrium of huge volume, which acts as the large waiting area. The outpatient departments and diagnostics flank the atrium on both sides. The less complex out patient department is separated by the pedestrian atrium from the complex acute care, diagnostic and in-patient areas; easing the pressure on the hospital machinery while making the whole hospital experience simpler, faster and more convenient for the outpatient. The other major considerations while planning is to discern zones sterile, semi-sterile and public effectively. Proper waiting spaces wherever required should be provided creating least commotion for the patients and the staff. Public common facilities like toilet, lounge, cafeterias should be well placed at proper junctions for better accessibility. Properly planned wide corridors for movement should be provided as they act as are major spines for such organizations. It should also be planned for hazards like floods, curfews etc. having extra energy resources for its functioning even in critical situations.
Bringing in natural light is also very indispensable in Healthcare architecture as it affects the psychology of the patients and the staff as well. Thus the structure should be oriented responsive to the local climate. This has been competently been addressed in the design of Hiranandani hospital, Mumbai; The design capitalizes on vast, open spaces, beautifully landscaped large balconies in rooms and lounges. The lighting and ventilation planning aspire to cheer recuperating patients and showcase the vistas of the Hiranandani Gardens. The rooms are airy, vibrant with natural light and boast of an effective ventilation system.
Another major consideration for Healthcare structures is interiors; use of in-house and overlooking courtyards for the patients to bring them closer to the nature. Decent ambient lighting and calm soothing colours help invigorating the mental health of the users.
Special care should be taken while designing for nuclear medicines. In TATA Memorial hospital, high radiation equipments are used and so the materials incorporated had to be radiation proof. It’s walls and ceiling are also around 1.7m thick in order to stop radiation from the room below.
Healthcare architecture is a very momentous and needs utmost care and deliberation while designing as many issues and aspects has to be addressed while designing for an unmitigated and efficient architecture that helps to heal and exhilarate the health of its users.