Review Student Health Design Awards 2007

Report on The AfH 2007 Student Health Design Awards

After a spirited hour of final deliberations at the RIBA the judging panel of Sunand Prasad (RIBA President), Burt Lichtman (AfH Exec.), Paul Mercer (AfH and Tangram Architects), Mungo Smith (AfH and MAAP) and Geoff Shearcroft (The AOC), awarded the Architects for Health First Student Design Award to Jonathan Pugh for his ‘Healing Pool Project’ at Glasgow Gartnavel Hospital.

In 2006 the AfH Committee recognised that a schism had developed between the academic community and practicing healthcare architects. Directly resulting from this was that the image of healthcare design had fallen amongst students. Yet currently within the UK the government is undertaking the largest Healthcare construction program since the post war period. With the rapid changes in healthcare technology and treatment, this is a vastly expanding field worldwide. By establishing an annual award for student design AfH hopes to celebrate the opportunities for student work within the gamut of healthcare and social care topics. Thus, helping to rebuild the relationship with academia and subsequently improve the quality of design within the sector.

The winning scheme by Jonathan Pugh, of the Mackintosh School, Glasgow, and of the Royal College of Art, Kensington, was selected because it recognised the importance of the one to one interaction between a patient, or staff member, and the space. To achieve this Jonathan invented enchanting methods to explore his ideas through sketches, evocative montages and the use of 1:20 pin jointed mannequins to explore ergonomics. Jonathan suspended our disbelief by weaving a convincing narrative based around the Receptionist as the lynch pin of the centre sited in a re-appropriated ambulance shed, where she was able to control the environment throughout the day through an elaborate system of handles and pulleys.

Elizabeth Makinson, of Newcastle University was awarded joint second prize for ‘Hipernate’ a retreat for teenagers suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADHD). The judges enjoyed the subtlety of the sketch vignettes employed by Elizabeth to explore the spaces which were derived from investigation into treatment of the disorder. Elizabeth proposed a building to satisfy curiosity and help relieve the low boredom threshold of children with ADHD. Numerous objects have been designed with the user group in mind, for example, by providing the occupants with the choice of enclosure or exposure. Other objects included rotating seats made from recycled sleepers, to calm the teenagers by keeping the lower half of their bodies still whilst allowing motion radially.

Stefan Kolen‘s Asthma Clinic ‘Dutch Mountain’, undertaken at TU Eindhoven, Netherlands, was awarded joint second prize and was commended for the expert dissection of health need into an exciting urban form. The new clinic deals with this problem by introducing a green zone where the air quality is at its best (called the Airport) into a tower. The Airport is described as a true heterotopias; a clean park at one of the most air polluted places in Holland.

The 2007 award evening was a great success with the 14 students from as far as Texas and Finland presenting the short listed schemes before the judges. Architects for Health now expect the competition to become a regular fixture in their events calendar and are engaging tutors, students and practitioners to help build on the success of this year’s event.

By Jaime Bishop, Event Organiser (Steffian Bradley Architects and AfH Exec.)

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