UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

"Breaking out of the modernist cloister" : a restorative approach to community health care facility design Hogan, Geralyn Margaret Ann L.


The aim for this project was to explore a more restorative manner of health care facility design that would manipulate the environment in order to reduce stress, prevent illness, and promote wellness. 'Restorative Design' has been applied in the public realm but is not commonly seen on the hospital landscape. Regional hospitals across Canada are created almost entirely for function. Recent studies on the potential impact of design, however, may prove beneficial in reducing hospital stays, reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, and, quite simply, improving the health of the community. This project looked at available data, studies, and expert opinions and attempted to develop a framework for restorative design as applied to the hospital landscape. Four global principles for restorative design were identified (legibility, inherent familiarity, accessibility, and access to natural elements). The project then went further to try and delineate specific needs for specific groups. Visitors, staff, patients, and the surrounding community were all considered integral parts of the open space and figured highly in the final design and program. Both global and specific needs for stress reduction were translated into several very specific design implications that could be translated into design and programming. The project explored unconventional, "restorative" means of evaluating the success or failure of design moves. Most notably, an unconventional large open space was laid out for several reasons: it provided the best chance for enhancing biodiversity on the site, it was accessible (visually and/or physically) by a variety of users and its creation offered several programming possibilities. A proposal was put forth for shared management of the open space with a local volunteer stewardship group as a way to offset costs as well as enhance a sense of community ownership. It is important to note that only one vision for this hospital site has been proposed here. The developed principles and design implications, however, may be taken and applied to any given site (public or private) to develop a landscape that actively participates in the healing process. The following document, made up of both written text and graphic images, aims to explain and illustrate the design process and the design proposals put forth in this project. Several of the original drawings were done at much larger scales and many were illustrated in color. A CD-R version of this document has been submitted and may be useful to better visualize some of these graphics.

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