Design Matters 2022

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AfH were delighted to welcome members to Ryder Architecture for an in-person event, ‘Design Matters’ in partnership with Gerflor Gradus.

Design Matters offers the opportunity for a deeper dive into three schemes successful at the Salus European Health Design Congress Awards earlier in the year.

The 3 schemes presented were:

Sikkerhetsbygget High Security Mental Hospital in Trondheim, by RATIO Arkitekter and Karlsson Architects, winner of the Mental Health Design category and presented by June Haugen Weloorf RATIO Arkitekter.

Sight and Sound Centre, supported by Premier Inn, and commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust designed by Sonnemann Toon Architects, presented by Gary Toon and winner in the Healthcare Design (under 25,000 sqm) category. Great Ormond Street Hospital, Sight and Sound Centre case study

The redesign of the Maternity Ward at Punta Europa Hospital, Algeciras, in Spain. Commissioned by Hospital Punta de Europa, Servicio Andaluz de Salud, Junta de Andalucía, winner of the Design for Health and Wellness award, designed in collaboration by Virai Arquitectura and Parra-Müller Arquitectura de Maternidades and presented by Marta Parra Casado.

June Haugen Welo’s presentation demonstrated the care and greater degree if consideration afforded the design of lighting and spatial quality of the facility, enhancing innate circadian rhythms but also supporting healing pathways by emphasising the differing demands of private and pseudo public space in the secure facility.

All three schemes demonstrated a deeply humanistic and generous exploration of art and interior design, adding value, aiding operation both the pragmatic and prosaic.

Sight and Sound worked with artists and a balanced colour palette to integrate wayfinding and joy to weave a “child friendly, but not childish, environment” through the historic Italianate host building.  The Sikkerhetsbygget project integrated a site specific approach within the fabric of the sleek and calming modernism while the glazed tiles and domestic materiality of the Punta Europa Hospital Maternity Ward moves achieved a welcoming and reassuring yet de-institutionalised result.

Both the Sight and Sound and new maternity facility demonstrated how the emphasis on the briefing stage, working closely with clinicians and users can enable the creative reuse of spaces previously considered inappropriate for contemporary health use. The Great Ormond Street’s site, as a listed building, was restricted by the double lock of limited space and conservation policy – either obstacle typically enough to deter a client.

Punta Europa was also restricted by poverty of space but then compounded by an acute lack of natural light. Both projects overcame these challenges adeptly and can be used as case studies to bring sceptics and cautious commissioners on an imaginative journey of re-use.

Andy Gordon of Gerflor Gradus also presented, introducing new initiatives including how product specification of wall and floors can support the journey towards Net Zero.

AfH had hosted a visit to Springfield Hospital earlier the same day, where C.F.Møller presented an evidence-based approach to addressing risks within a mental health residential facility.

Marta Para Casado also shared data indicating a distinct de-medicalisation of the birthing process for a population had been achieved while serving a population of significantly higher rates of poverty and proportionately poor birth outcomes. Though contrasting in use, the de-medicalisation was also evident in both other schemes presented. The conversation regarding evidence, against the backdrop of new, as yet not fully tested facilities, lead the Q and A session towards the benefits of post occupancy evaluation of facilities. With the emphasis on briefing quality of all three schemes this particularly focused on revisiting the goals established in the earliest stages of the project evolution.

AfH members and presenters came to the conclusion that more should and can be done to create a knowledge base of measures assessing outcomes, though words of caution were also raised against risks of stifling innovation and untested ideas.

Report and event chair, Jaime Bishop, Fleet Architects and AfH Co-Chair.


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