Joohyun Lee

Joohyun Lee, who is studying at the Texas A&M University, USA, was shortlisted in the Architects for Health’s First Student Health Design Award (2007) for the following submission. For contact please email:

Boca Raton Critical Care Tower

This project has included three goals based on Evidence-Based Design referred by professor Kirk Hamilton, Texas A&M University; Creating a healing environment, Creating a patient/family-centered environment, Creating a staff-embraced environment.

The design is ICU, which is a part of a four-story freestanding building in Boca Raton community hospital, Florida. 16 bed ICU patient units occupy the second through fourth floors. By reducing the depth of the whole to a thin slab and dead space, it is possible in this design to create something different from the monotonous volume that usually arises from the design of massive neighbor existing hospitals.

In addition, this critical care tower has two gardens (courtyards), which are using for families and caregivers. Dr Ulrich and his colleagues used on a experimental design to investigate whether exposure to stimulated nature views in intensive care units improved recovery indicators in heart surgery patients. Two gardens create voids in the building mass through which the far side of the building can be glimpsed, reducing the visual impression of massiveness. It is the emotional and physiological benefit from visual and physical accessing to nature. Gardens located in healthcare settings offer patients, visitors, and staff the opportunity for direct interaction with the restorative, calming effects of nature.

Each ICU unit made up of a patient bed, bathroom including toilet and shower, and family area. All of which are aligned along the side receiving the most outside view, linked by a natural surrounding in Boca Raton. Patients in rooms with windows, particularly windows with pleasant views to nature, have shorter recovery times and fewer complications and request less pain medication. Employees with access to windows and nature views experience less stress, better health, and higher job satisfaction. Natural light or sunlight which is biochemical and physiological effects that faster improved outcomes in many types of patients.

I considered various alternatives for the envelope of ICU building. Regarding the external and internal conditions, I tried to design the space so that the building seems like one simple volume. Accordingly, the curtain wall is made of panels of the same size, using transparent, translucent and aluminum finishes arranged in a random order. While the distribution of these panels with differing levels of transparency and opacity is not a regular, it is equal, enabling every space in the building to be filled with natural light. The individual ICU rooms face the natural scene and light source.

The Architects for Health
First Student Health Design Award
was sponsored by


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