I recently read this blog about the healing potential of building design. In particular, I feel this is important to building design in planning the construction of hospitals and other medical facilities. Research demonstrates that medical facilities that are comfortable and calming and that are designed to reduce the likelihood of spreading infection actually result in better treatment outcomes for patients. It is a fascinating topic, and one that is often overlooked in conversations about effective healthcare.
Our physical environment is yet another aspect of our well-being whose importance we often underestimate. In the workplace and in many areas of life, we often tend to behave as if we are automatons. Many people work in cramped cubicles with no natural light source, sitting in uncomfortable chairs while hunched over computer screens every day.
We are not robots. To thrive, we must acknowledge our human needs. These include physical comfort, time for activities outside of work, the time and ability to prioritize relationships, and creative outlets. We cannot be stuffed into sterile hospital rooms or claustrophobic cubicles and be expected to prosper – and hopefully, as a society we are beginning to recognize that. This new emphasis on intelligently designed hospitals represents a cultural shift away from cold institutions and unforgiving workplaces.