The brief was to reshape a California Health Provider's medical delivery model and to conceptualise a new approach to delivering inpatient care. It should use technology and innovative design to remove barriers to care and collaboration among staff and clinicians, patients and their families whilst delivering care effectively and affordably.
The art of care is as important as the science of treatment. That means that the design places the patient at the centre, in control of their environment. The patient room is the hospital. This is a humanist solution which abandons traditional hospital constraints by placing all the care and treatment in small scale, shallow plan buildings set in gardens and courtyards. It is a healthy building which minimises the human energy of the staff through optimised layout. This is also a sustainable building because it is planned to expand in a rational fashion and the basic building blocks are designed to accommodate a range of clinical functions, maximising passive energy to service and power the building in a near zero carbon solution.
The design strategy breaks down traditional boundaries between departments, challenges the separation of clinical and non-clinical spaces and blurs the boundaries between internal and external space. The design eliminates ‘hospital-land’ wherever possible, avoiding corridors, ‘reception areas’ and waiting rooms. The patient room is the hospital: A 'motel' style layout of flexible units which can accommodate 12 multi-acuity patient rooms, or 12 ITU rooms, a maternity unit, a suite of clinical offices or even an emergency unit. Incoming patients and visitors will access the individual rooms from the outside, through arcades in the climate mediating courtyard gardens.
Within the individual room simple operations and treatments can be executed, minimising patient transfer and maximising his sense of 'home ground' within the room and maintaining control of his environment and movement. Beyond the room the shared patient / staff zone links the patient suites and treatment zones. The design provides social, dining and work spaces for staff and patients. In the innermost core are the technical suites and staff zones with minimal distances. These are all linked by the fifth and all important component – the external gardens and courtyards - which create the foreground and the background to all activity and are critical in the energy strategy.