February 3, 2022

Why Should Medical Facilities Care About Organic Architecture?

Why Should Medical Facilities Care About Organic Architecture?

Posted by CMBA Architects on Nov 13, 2019 8:00:00 AM

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The architecture of healthcare facilities has always been purpose-driven. With the need for sterilized areas and many other safety measures, hospitals are typically built with patient vulnerability and preventing the spread of disease top of mind, not with a goal of environmental balance and harmony. While we're not suggesting that change, we believe there's no reason an organic design philosophy can’t be applied to the healthcare sector with the help of experienced architects. Considering the benefits, it's definitely something to think about – especially if patient experience and staff wellness are important to you.

Characteristics of Organic Design

Organic architecture refers to any building designed with the surrounding environment in mind. This can include buildings with natural aesthetic features, such as walls built with stones pulled from the natural landscape or roofs that curve to match the slope of a site hillside, but it can also include design details that aren’t immediately visible, such as daylighting and efficient wind channeling and protection. In this sense, today’s organic architecture is part smart design.

Incorporating Organic Architecture Into Your Design

In order to achieve organic architecture in a hospital, you must first consider the area surrounding the building site. Some questions to ask are: Is the site located in a flat terrain? Sparsely-populated? Rural or urban environment? Location, population, topography, and views can give direction for design specifications and features, including building height, shape, orientation, door and window placement, and more. If the facility is on a hill, it may be a wise choice to design a curved roof that mimics the natural slope of the environment. In contrast, a square roof may work best in a flat environment.

Incorporating daylight is also a good idea to connect the design to nature. Skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows allow more sunlight into your facility and visually connect outdoor and indoor spaces. Another way to connect the outdoors with your interior are gardens and outdoor seating areas shaded by native trees that blend with the surrounding environment. These spaces can have a strong calming effect on hospital patients and staff and are the epitome of organic architecture.

Lobby with sun

Incorporating organic architecture in hospitals using design considerations such as these will not only ensure that your building is aesthetically pleasing for occupants, but that it also works efficiently within its natural environment.

Overcoming Challenges

Although organic architecture can benefit hospital design, some aspects of the process can be challenging. For example, organic architecture requires efficient planning. You should maintain open spaces between the hospital and surrounding buildings or natural structures so that future expansion is possible. When space is limited, this can be difficult. By working with an experienced architecture firm it'll be much easier to determine how to use even small amounts of space for future expansion.

If you’re interested in learning more about this process, reach out to us today! We’d love to answer any questions you have.

Topics: Healthcare