By Sun Kim
Posting in Architecture
How can we design better healthcare settings for patients and health care providers? Award winning American architect Michael Graves tells his story.
Michael Graves is widely known as an architect who designs objects we use in daily life, most famously for Target. The American architect, who was just named the 2012 recipient of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize, also applies his approachable design philosophy to building better hospitals and home care environments. In his TEDMED 2011 talk outlined by CNN's Madison Park, Graves presents his own experience with a rare illness that left him paralyzed and how undergoing rehabilitation in inadequately designed hospital rooms inspired his healthcare designs.
In 2003, Graves developed a sinus infection that escalated and required an emergency trip to the hospital. By the next morning, the infection spread to his brain and spine, and the architect was paralyzed from the chest down. Graves spent months in hospitals and quickly learned how poorly designed patient rooms hampered a patient's recovery and zapped any sense of empowerment regained after therapy sessions.
"They didn't make big mistakes," Graves said about various designs he observed in hospitals and rehab centers. "They just made the most frustrating mistakes you could ever imagine and made your cure more difficult. Your room should make it easier for the doctors and the aides and the patient. But instead it does just the opposite."
Throughout his recovery, Graves sketched ideas for improving hospital buildings, rooms, and furniture. In 2009, the products he designed out of frustration became available through a partnership with Stryker, a hospital furnishing company.
The products are simple, logical improvements of the usual furniture found in patient rooms, such as a bedside cabinet with rounded edges, handles, a two way-drawer and an integrated trash can that fits under the bedside table (a favorite of hospital staff). The line also includes a chair with larger handles, to make it easier for patients to hoist themselves up, an overbed table, and a bedside stand with a large handle.
Architectural critics and academics often credit Michael Graves with democratizing design, and not just for his work with Target. His recently revealed designs for the Wounded Warrior Homes project reflect the designer's ongoing commitment to human centered designs that work.
Watch part of the TEDMED video below:
Dec 15, 2011
I spent well over 40 years as a professional working in hospitals. New ones and redesigned ones too. They all suffered from a desire to showcase the beautiful works of the architects over the functional needs of patient care. One particularly expensive mistake was the natural stone pathway from ER to XRay Department. Picture, if you can, the patient on a gurney with a broken leg bouncing over the irregular stones on his way for an XRay. I have seen so many huge problems. The one where they hid the emergency generators in the basement. Then came the heavy rains and oh yes, the incline was 35 degrees, heading straight for the generators. The electric power went off and the generators came on and blew. All three of the back up systems that were standing side by side. Calling all nurses and doctors and anybody with two hands too manually breathe for the ventilator patients. All work came to a halt until another backup generator got to the hospital from one across town about 40 miles. There were 27 architects and associates on that project. Another hospital created quite an opening when a proud CEO turned on a water faucet to show off the beauty of the water basin. . and a stream of water shot straight out of the bottom into the electric outlet next to the sink. Snap, crackle and pop! Duh. Please have somebody check plumbing with electrical before applying workmen to the problem. At another hospital the architects, lettered gentlemen and snots to boot, started a war with the builders, just peasants who were quickly put into their place when they made suggestions. The head man asked the architects if they meant for them to build the building exactly as designed. Yes, indeed they were, they were not expected to understand why these things were needed, just to do the work. OK said the builder to the glee of the other builders. The toilets began to overflow and nobody could find the cut off valves. They called the builder in anger, where are the cut off valves!!!!! Why, they are right behind the wall leading to the XRay department said the head builder. WHAT DUMMY DID THAT!!!! Why, it was you Sir, who instructed us to follow instructions and quit making suggestions. It would take me at least ten years to tell you all the problems in hospital construction. I am glad to be retired. Taking care of patients is easy, taking care of the auxillary problems is insurmountable due to egos.