ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #44 – Reworking HospitalsArchiExpo e-Magazine

Reworking Hospitals

Dear Readers,

Nearly all of us have spent time in a hospital and, although we don’t need studies to realize what we’ve experienced firsthand, studies do show that design promotes patient recovery—even health tourism. The question is: Can we now finally see a development in how our hospitals are being designed and built? In this issue, we go looking for answers.

You won’t want to miss our coverage of Light + Building, Singapore Design Week and Mobile World Congress.

You’ll also have the opportunity to catch our Q&A with Soraa on Radiant and Healthy LED bulbs for the home.

Other editorial goodies in this issue: smart tools, eco-friendly materials, history through architecture and more.


Erin Tallman, Editor-in-Chief

Do you know why you cannot tickle yourself?

Need inspiration? Here’s A plethora of vibrant events and design seminars presented by some of the best minds who discuss innovative projects from all over the world at the #SDW2018. The Singapore Design Week 2018 presented a variety of design, art and architecture projects in different venues spread around the city—a...

Hot Topic
Our aim was to design a clinic where we would be less afraid to go.
Sheffield Children's Hospital by Avanti Architects. ©Architects.

While clinical regulations and safety requirements breed an impersonal, often austere environment in healthcare facilities, a number of architects and designers focus their creativity on enhancing patients’ well-being, taking into account the emotional role of the environment in the healing process. Filled with light, natural materials, fresh colors and visual art, these traditionally cold and impersonal infrastructures are evolving into more uplifting spaces.


Rethinking the Details


Better ventilation, open views and pleasant color schemes improve and accelerate the healing process, according to the British Medical Association. As a result, new hospitals boast innovative floor plans and contemporary architectural lines, designed to tackle the empty feeling that many patients experience during their stay. With its curvilinear shape, the Jacobs Medical Center in San Diego created by Cannon Design embodies this innovation. Design Principal Mehrdad Yazdan told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

The health center blurs the boundaries between research and providing healthcare while elevating patient care experiences through creative technology integration, access to nature and beautiful interior and exterior spaces.

Pent-house style hospital room. The Jacobs Medical Center in San Diego created by Cannon Design. Image by Christopher Barrett.

Specially dedicated to cancer patients and their families, Maggie’s Centre Barts stands out with its geometrical façade and harmonious spaces. The facility, which opened last December next to London’s oldest hospital, offers free practical, social and emotional help to anyone affected by cancer, in a stress-free environment. Designed by American architect Steven Holl, the building features an outer layer of translucent white glass dotted with tinted fragments and an interior shaped by colored light bathing the floors and walls, changing with the time of day and season to enhance patient and visitor comfort.

Maggie’s Centre Barts. Photos by Iwan Baan.

Maggie’s Centre Barts. Photos by Iwan Baan.

Using interior design to put patients at ease, Belgian Architect Germain Canon and industrial designer Li Mengshu have achieved a homelike environment for a dental clinic in Taiwan. “Our aim was to design a clinic we would be less afraid to go to,” Canon told ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

Our aim was to design a clinic where we would be less afraid to go.

The team used common and simple materials throughout the project to create a space that feels accessible, rather than hermetic with strong and soft colors, vibrant translucent glass, wood surfaces to touch or sit on, layouts of inexpensive colored tiles and even tiny personal shelves for patients’ toothbrushes in the bathroom. The waiting area, which imitates a comfortable living room, is fitted with low furniture, wood flooring, and soft cushions to create a familiar and calming atmosphere.

Belgian Architect Germain Canon and industrial designer Li Mengshu have achieved a homelike environment for a dental clinic in Taiwan.

“Belgian Architect Germain Canon and industrial designer Li Mengshu have achieved a homelike environment for a dental clinic in Taiwan.” Photo credit: Germain Canon.


“Art with a Bigger Purpose”


When budget doesn’t allow for the construction of new facilities or the radical transformation of existing ones, NGOs and charities, such as the Nordic Art Initiative (NAI) and Artfelt, reach out to designers and artists to improve wards through slight yet life-changing interventions.

With the support of six sponsors, Nordic Art Initiative developed Art with a Bigger Purpose at the Pediatric Clinic in Ljubljana, a creative and interactive project whose all-around approach is to create a friendlier hospital environment. In total, 360 square meters of the hospital premises were filled with art by Črtomir Just of Slovenia, Rafael Mayani of Mexico, Ruth Hengeveld of the Netherlands and Fatheat & Bea Pántya of Hungary. The result was a colorful spatial network connecting the hospital’s interior and exterior and including murals, an outdoor fresco animated through AR technology, decorated furniture and relative backlit panels. Founder / Head of production at Nordic Art Initiative, Anna Runefelt told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

The task we set for ourselves was to create art that stimulates the patients, the visitors and the employees, and that actively contributes to the recovery process with its therapeutic effects.

In the same spirit, British charity fund Artfelt asked designer Morag Myerscough to enhance young patients’ comfort in the new wing added by Avanti Architects to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. She designed colorful patterns that were laminated on the furniture in 46 en-suite bedrooms and six multi-occupancy suites, including a few rooms in a paler palette for children with conditions that might be affected by brighter colors. Myerscough told ArchiExpo e-Magazine:

From the work I’ve done in healthcare, I know that it’s phenomenally positive for people to have art in hospitals. Going into a grim and grey room isn’t going to make anybody feel good. But to go into a room that lets you know that people care about you and they’re thinking about you — it’s a no-brainer really. It makes people happier and more assured that everybody is concerned about them and wants them to get better.

New wing for young patients’ comfort added by Avanti Architects to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

New wing for young patients’ comfort added by Avanti Architects to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Photo credit: Jill Tate.

I was very excited to be given the challenge of working in a clinical space that could make a real difference to the wellbeing of the young patients, as sometimes they have to stay in the rooms for months on end. I wanted to make bedrooms that the young patients would feel happy to wake up in, a bedroom that had a warmth and friendliness to bring a ‘sense of home’ into the rooms.


New wing for young patients’ comfort added by Avanti Architects to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

New wing for young patients’ comfort added by Avanti Architects to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.


Myerscough encountered a small problem on the path to happiness though:

The clinical staff, quite rightly, were worried about me using strong colors and patterns. They were worried this may be detrimental to the well-being of the patients. So I made scale models of the rooms and, with the help of Artfelt, we presented the four bedrooms to 80 patients and their families—98% said they didn’t want nondescript bedrooms, they wanted them to be joyous.

Myerscough went back to the clinical staff and decided on a concession of including a few rooms in a paler color palette for children with conditions such as autism that might be affected by the brighter colors. They continued with four schemes, including a paler color palette, rotated throughout 46 en-suite bedrooms and six multi-occupancy bays.

Modification: Myerscough was first mentioned as having worked with “her team”. She emailed saying, “I don’t have a team it is just me. I worked directly with Artfelt and Avanti. I made all the designs and provided all drawings for manufactures. I often wish I could have a team.”


In the Operating Room


Clemson University’s Architecture + Health Program

Clemson University’s Architecture + Health Program

Realizing Improved Patient Care through Human-Centered Design (RIPCHD.OR) is a federally funded four-year research effort in the US.  In contribution, Clemson University’s Architecture + Health Program designed an operating room prototype that serves as a platform for safer and more operationally efficient ambulatory surgery.

Clemson’s architecture students created a team which included faculty members, clinicians, consultants, practicing architects, and industry collaborators, challenging them to examine conventional healthcare construction methods and conceive a new approach.

After a year of research and observation, the students spent the following two years working on the design, initial simulation testing, refinement and mock-up fabrication. Currently in their fourth year, they’re focusing on clinical simulation testing, the publication of results and the application of evidence-based design features into two ambulatory surgery centers.

You might enjoy reading an article about the award-winning cutting-edge rehabilitation hospital in the Streeterville neighborhood of downtown Chicago. Read Contract magazine’s article Interiors Awards 2018: Healthcare.


Changing hospital design is a long process, but these projects and initiatives show the possibilities and rich potential for developing better environments for patients as well as staff. What if curing the monotony of the premises were the first step to curing the illnesses?



Hot Topic
Everyone deserves good design.
Courtesy of MASS Design Group

Studies show that design promotes patient recovery and health tourism, but the question is: Can we now finally see a development in how our hospitals are being designed and built?   The health tourism trend calls for interiors that mimic the room of a luxury hotel. Hospitals responding to this trend have patient rooms...


Veranda Collection. Courtesy of Studio Menini Nicola.

March—The southern Brazilian city of Bento Gonçalves hosted Movelsul, the biggest furniture exhibition in Latin America, parallel to which the exhibition...

Ostraco by ©Lucile Viaud

The use of recycled and organic materials in design remains prevalent since our coverage in “Leaving a Light Footprint on the Planet”. From ground coffee to...

  • Join our 155,000 subscribers

  • Courtesy of Soraa

    LED lighting has transformed workplaces and homes of people throughout the world. The bulbs last longer and are more energy efficient than incandescent lighting. But, until recently, LED light quality has lagged—bulbs typically produce a surfeit of blue light that studies show interfere with sleep. Further, due to limited light spectrums they emit, these bulbs also distort reality making it difficult to distinguish between different shades of color.

    This past January, a company called Soraa, co-founded in 2008 by 2014 Nobel Prize winner Dr. Shuji Nakamura, released several consumer light bulbs that deal with the shortcomings. One is the Radiant LED, a violet based bulb that contains a fuller spectrum of light than the traditional blue based LED. The other is Soraa Healthy, a violet based LED that contains no blue light whatsoever.

    ArchiExpo e-Magazine correspondent Alex Ulam spoke recently with Chief Product Officer for Soraa TJ Grewal about the company’s new products.


    AU: What are the advantages of a violet based LED for consumers?

    Grewal: Soraa was founded on the idea of creating a violet LED and the reason was to create a full spectrum of color. Blue based LEDs have a difficult time rendering deep reds and they have another gap around cyan.

    Soraa lighting

    “Light that loves you.” Courtesy of Soraa.

    We are already popular in hospitality sector and in museums and galleries, where people are the most color critical. They want to make sure that the art they are showing looks correct. The other application of violet based LEDs is to produce a white light that has none of this blue spectrum that can lead to poor sleep quality, which impacts your awareness, your wellness and your health.

    AU: So why aren’t violet LED’s more common?

    Grewal: The lighting industry is typically based off of blue LEDs. Violet LEDs are generally very expensive. What Soraa invented was a way to make violet LEDs very small so they could be put into things like lamps to produce that full spectrum and that is where LEDs have become an alternative to halogens. You saw a lot of people not wanting to give up halogens because the blue LED option was awful. Now with an LED option based off of a violet bulb, even halogen lovers can say, “now you are finally producing a full spectrum color spectrum.”

    AU: Where would you put Soraa Healthy in your home as opposed to Soraa Radiant?

    Grewal: There are some people who will say I want to reduce my blue diet throughout the day and they will want to put Soraa Healthy everywhere. But blue light is not necessarily a bad thing for you physiologically, you just need it in the morning because it is a trigger to stop melatonin production so that you become active and alert. Personally, I put Soraa Healthy in places where I am willing to make the tradeoff against the full spectrum color–so not in my living room where I have a lot of art and I want that to look great. In my kids’ bedrooms, I have Soraa Healthy. Your body needs a period of no blue light to go into sleep mode and Soraa Healthy makes it possible to do that in a way that makes it look as though you are not living in a light experiment.

    AU: Don’t gadgets have nighttime light modes that switch off blue light to aid with getting us ready for sleep?

    Grewal: Every form of LED light that is out there today, whether it is a lightbulb a television screen, a laptop or your iPhone: all of that is based on LEDs that start with a blue LED.  But that blue LED is always there as a backlight what night shift does is reduce the amount of blue that is emanating from your screen. What they are doing is applying other color filters to reduce the amount of blue that is hitting your eye and the only way they achieve that is by applying other color filters on top of that blue light. But they cannot get it down to zero.

    AU: Do you use technology in your bedroom?

    Grewal: You cannot avoid screens. Should people use iPhones and tablets before they go to sleep? They shouldn’t. With your screens, you don’t have the alternative you either turn it off or use it. But we are giving consumers the choice with lamps. In our home with our kids, I use Soraa Healthy because I want to prepare their bodies for sleep.

    AU: What about sleep time light bulbs that aid with your circadian rhythms?

    Grewal: There are sleep time light bulbs and I have walked into rooms wearing a bright fluorescent orange sweatshirt and you cannot tell what color it is because you are literally inside of a bug light. It is like that dramatic of a color shift and, as consumers, we don’t want to live in that world. We want normal looking light and that is what we invented with Soraa Healthy—it looks like a normal lightbulb and we are not compromising anything on color.

    AU: Does the Radiant LED have the potential to transform the way people approach decorating their homes?

    All whites look the same too under bad lighting.

    Grewal: You have consumers who are spending all of this time on interior decorating and they go to showrooms and select swatches and they are selecting what color fabric to use on their sofas and what color their rug is going to be—is it this shade of red or that shade of red? But nobody ever thinks of changing their lightbulb and they can have terrible quality lighting. That is why some of the top fashion brands use our light. When merchandisers show five different shades of a red dress, they want consumers to see that there are five different shades of a red dress. But when you take those dresses home and put them under bad lighting, they will all look the same. All whites look the same too under bad lighting. You won’t notice the nuance of the white Carrera marble countertop that you just put in, and the white napkin that you put on top—all of these objects have different shades, and under bad LED lighting, you will not see the different shades.

    AU: Do you think that the general public is aware of the shortcomings with blue based LEDs versus incandescent bulbs and your new violet based LEDs.

    Grewal: Most people don’t realize that the lighting got really bad with the modern LED—lighting became a utilitarian thing and nobody would pay attention to it. I am lucky enough to live in a place where I had a lot of natural light in sunny southern California. If I lived in where I grew up in Toronto, light would matter to me more there. But consumers don’t realize that they have an alternative. You know that when you went to that museum or that high-end store that things looked better. So why shouldn’t you have that experience at home? We are trying to teach people that lighting matters for color and for health.

    AU: Do you think that it is possible that someday we will someday be living in a violet-LED based world?

    Grewal: With traditional LED’s the effort was always to make things more efficient and was done at the expense of color. And everything is continually getting flatter and flatter, so the challenge is to make LEDs smaller and smaller. However, at some point the violet LEDs will be small enough to put into those applications.


    Courtesy of Streem

    / /

    How can augmented reality and live streaming really help in the architecture and design sectors? Portland startup Streem responds with its app for home-service...

    The Walabot DIY by ©Vayyar Imaging

    Vayyar Imaging, a 3D imaging sensors company, has manufactured a device that transforms your smartphone into a radar/stud finder  to uncover gas pipes, live...

    Courtesy of PureLife

    Mobile World Congress 2018—Thanks to LiFi, light can now connect us with unprecedented data and bandwidth by turning light into data. LiFi is a technology that...

    The Secvest Touch wireless alarm system from ABUS. Photo courtesy of ABUS.


    Developers are increasingly realizing that if you are going to integrate the latest smart technology in a building, it is critical to include the latest in building security. During the Light + Building trade fair from March 18 to 23 in Frankfurt am Main, several manufacturers focused on the most futuristic building security products.

    To promote the field, Light + Building featured the exhibition, “Secure! Connected Security in Buildings,” addressing the shift from outdated analogue technology to digital technology and the impact of these changing processes on building services management. Additionally, the conference Intersec Forum, running concurrently with Light + Building, focused exclusively on security technology.


    The Need for a Standardized System


    At the moment, all of these so-called smart technologies—routed through different operating systems which may or may not talk nicely to each other—are a colossal mess for even those who make a smart building their life’s work.

    “The smart building market is lacking standardization and adoption rates are growing but are still slow,” explains Mitchell Klein, executive director of Z-Wave Alliance, an industry leader in home and office security that assembles individual security products like smart locks, lighting, sensors, cameras, touch pads and security panels under one holistic security system.

    Fragmentation across building automation is still confusing for homeowners and project managers. Many are afraid to invest without reassurance that their products will be future-proof.

    Image courtesy of the Z-Wave Alliance.

    Image courtesy of the Z-Wave Alliance

    One way to navigate the confusion is customer service. Two new products manufacturer ABUS is debuting include the Secvest Touch wireless alarm system, which combines the ABUS alarm, video surveillance and access control technologies into one intelligent home security system. Both Advanced and Basic IP video surveillance systems controllable via an app and come with customer support, easing the transition in the form of on-site technical assistance and the ABUS service hotline.

    Despite the complications, as the shift to integrated digital systems becomes more widespread, standardization will follow—and the benefits are clear. Klein states:

    Many professionals who install lighting and building automation systems are starting to see smart technology as a great fit for both residential and larger commercial projects as they can help save energy costs, reduce operational redundancy, provide a productive working environment, streamline lighting, security and more.

    The Secvest Touch wireless alarm system from ABUS. Photo courtesy of ABUS.













    Either way, while there was a time when integrated security technology could be considered an afterthought or the final touch on a project, developers are increasingly realizing it—and all smart technologyneeds to be incorporated in a project’s early stages.

    “Electronic security technology will be an integral part of the smart home and smart building,” says Uwe Bartmann, CEO of the security division of ZVEI, an organization dedicated to Germany’s electrical industry. Zumtobel Lighting, for example, presented its new emergency light Rexclite Pro. With an optimized optic and an inconspicuous design, “the luminaire blends in perfectly with a building’s architecture,” according to the manufacturer.

    Zumtobel Lighting short video:


    Wireless Technology, a Solution for Existing Buildings


    However, for existing buildings, installation flexibility depends on wireless technology, which does not require rebuilding from the ground-up with dedicated cabling or batteries for power.

    No Wires. No Batteries. No Limits.

    “The key advantages of wireless control are the ease of upgrading existing buildings and expanding a system at any time,” explains Graham Martin, CEO and Chairman of the EnOcean Alliance, based on the principles “No Wires. No Batteries. No Limits.” EnOcean Alliance is a non-profit organization consisting of 400 member companies offering 1500 interoperable products based on the EnOcean wireless standard. The inventor of the patented energy harvesting wireless technology, EnOcean Alliance provides maintenance-free wireless sensor solutions based on self-powered wireless switches and sensors.

    All of today’s security developments dial home an essential reality: In a world with more and more sensitive data, the more critical modern security systems become.


    Allyson Pereyra

    Born and raised in the concrete jungle of NYC, Allyson is passionate about languages—she speaks, reads and writes in five.

    Read More

    Mairi Beautyman

    Mairi Beautyman is a journalist based out of Berlin. She’s been writing about design and architecture since 2001.

    Read More

    Manon Pierre

    Manon Pierre is a licensed journalist with a sturdy background in art and architecture reporting.

    Read More

    Ana Luiza Daltro

    A native of São Paulo, Ana Luiza Daltro is a former economics and business reporter from VEJA magazine who currently writes for three e-magazines within VirtualExpo group.

    Read More

    Erin Tallman

    American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.

    Read More

    Vanessa Liwanag

    Vanessa Liwanag, is an MBA alumni of the prestigious Mod’Art International in Paris and founder of Creative Talents Worldwide.

    Read More

    Alex Ulam

    Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

    Read More

    Style Switcher

    Highlight Color:




    You can also set your own colors or background from the Admin Panel.