“ The concept of the hospital of the future will be much closer to the current concept of a hotel ” (Bruno Gomes)
“ Nowadays you can’t talk about a healthcare typology” (Stefania Rendinelli)
Bruno Gomes and Stefania Rendinelli, senior architects of AGi architects, have participated on some of our healthcare projects, as the Hisham A. Alsager Cardiac Rehabillitation Center and the Ali Mohammed T. Al-Ghanim Clinic. By their own views, we visualize the current state of healthcare architecture and how each one of them understands this concept after the experiences they lived on this field.
New technologies have changed healthcare and hospital architecture with it, but in which way?
BG: More than changing, new technologies are a tool that could strengthen creativity and help simplify the use of a healthcare building
SR: New technologies have highly influenced programme requirements when it comes to designing a hospital. Due to patients’ data and medical histories computerization, it is already posible to do without with a lot of warehouse space and allow patient attention areas to become integrated in the waiting areas, which avoids, in a way, compartmentalization of the spaces and, above all, it facilitates a more fluid circulation of the patient within the building.
Along with this progress, have healthcare architecture principles been modified?
SR: The Health sector can’t stay still, it needs to get constantly modified and updated according to the technological and medical progress. That’s why nowadays you can’t talk about a healthcare typology, as architecture can be altered on each center according to techniques and treatments to be implemented or specialization of the different departments.
What is expected for the future hospital architecture?
BG: I don’t believe that healthcare architecture matches a different reality from other forms of architecture. If we are talking about the healthcare building in itself, I believe that it will always be highly connected to the economic and cultural reality of the moment. In fact, a few years ago, the economic reality allowed us to build hospitals with a certain luxury level, however, at the moment the current reality is creating interesting proposals which, as real alchemists, transform limitations into virtues.
Regardless of economic and cultural factors, I think that the concept of the hospital of the future will be much closer to the current concept of a hotel.
SR: The patients, their relatives and the citizens in general are much more informed and are increasingly demanding: they expect to be able to choose and they demand quality. The problem is how to deal with these expectations in order to increase transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare systems in favour of the patients and of society as a whole.
In your personal opinion, what are the key factors when designing a healthcare building?
BG: The key when it comes to design a healthcare building is to look for a good programmatical and spatial organization that can guarantee the user’s wellbeing. As far as I’m concerned, a good healthcare building is that where the user feels that is receiving the required care without noticing that he is into a healthcare building.
SR: Also, when designing a healthcare building we should consider two different points o view: that of the patient as the user of the space and that of the healthcare staff who will require a space that fits their working needs.
At AGi architects several hospital architecture projects have been developed. Does it exist a unified course of action to deal with this type of works? In other words, How does AGi architects understand healthcare architecture?
SR: We should bear in mind that our healthcare projects are extremely linked to the location and to the cultural system of Kuwait, so they trying to respect their characteristic privacy requirements. Therefore, there is a common intention on these projects to look from the waiting rooms to the interior courtyards recreating a public space, non-existent on the outside and, at the same time, protected from the external views to consulting rooms.
BG: I think that our aim is not designing healthcare buldings, but constructing “buildings in which healthcare is provided as well”. In every single case, we have proposed buildings in which people can come in with the same enthusiasm as they would enter a museum or a shopping center. We have always valued the building’s usufruct above its purpose.
In your view, can the design and architecture contribute to the recovery of the patients?
BG: Spatial quality is one of the basic tools for people to stay healthy and happy. Factors as ventilation, light or scale are basic, but we can’t forget either elements as comfort or even beauty, which are essential for patients’ wellbeing.