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Design of Healthcare Facilities Across Countries

Join LA.IDEA for an ongoing series exploring Healthcare Facility Designs and how they have been impacted by Covid-19. During this session, two professionals in healthcare consulting from the engineering and architectural fields will present best practices about healthcare design from experiences developed in several countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Participants will be able to listen and interact with our speakers who are remotely speaking from New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. These professionals pursued a diverse professional trajectory, but both present a consistent perception about spaces for health and healing.

On Tuesday, July 28th, LA.IDEA|DC hosted an interesting lecture, “The Design of Future Healthcare Facilities Crossing Countries”. Unlike previous in-person lecture events at the D.A.C., our response to the ongoing pandemic has allowed us and the AIA|DC to transition to promote and host webinar events. The results were very positive! Our guest speakers were remotely sharing their experiences and teaching us to think outside the box. We had the great opportunity to have with us, Italian electric and biomedical engineer, Enrico Nunziata, from South Africa and Persian senior architect, Noushin Ehsan, a powerful contributor to AIA-NY, Center for Architecture. Enrico spoke from his office in Cape Town, South Africa and Noushin from her home office NYC.

During this talk, the audience was invited to listen to two perspective on the topics: “Healthcare Facility Designs and how they have reacted to Covid-19” and “Future of Healthcare Facility Design”. We learned about current healthcare facility emergencies and the design response presented by Enrico, who shared his recent work in several countries in Africa and Europe. Noushin told us about the human element that healthcare facilities must consider when they are designed. She demonstrated using images such as light, spatiality, practical technologic solutions and physical circulation.

Focused on the ongoing and evolving pandemic, Enrico Nunziata pointed out the current public and private sector healthcare facility issues, both short term and long term. He then explained how “mobile” and “modular” design solutions have been rushed into existing structures, in order to absorb the high level and volume of treatment necessities for a short period of time. Should these solutions be integrated in a more functional and spatial way, in order to be used in ‘regular’ time, these can easily be converted for any specific need, such as the ongoing pandemic. He also briefly addressed issues related to the medical equipment industry which could completely change soon. It remains to be seen if the current pandemic will cause a short or long-term change in the way the globalized medical equipment market operates. Enrico concluded that all aspects from patient management to healthcare facility remain in a process of “manage as we go”.

Noushin’s lecture based on New York hospitals, such as Mount Sinai and the Kimmel Building – part of the complex of New York University Hospital, was complementary in part to what was already introduced by Enrico. She demonstrated by her slide show, the best way to create healthy and healing architecture: “Hospitals have the most complicated layers of functions of all building types. The functionality of each layer, as well as their relationships with each other is paramount. Without the perfect function of any of those layers, the healing process will be more difficult, and illness can worsen or spread throughout. In addition, more and more, there is value placed on the importance of a beautifully designed hospital and the positive experiences of the general public, patients, and service givers that use the space. The “evidence-based design” of various hospitals has proven that an excellent design has medicinal effects recognizing that space can uplift the spirit of patients, public and service givers, while its absence can create depression and fatigue”.

For those who attended this webinar or are interested in watching the recording, they will get a clever view about a spectrum of architectural areas in healthcare. Our speakers are available to answer all your questions via email. Guest speaker emails listed on the screen. Feel free to reach out to them!

Thank you for your participation!

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