Dr MacDonald: Medical Architecture
18 April 2012
Dr Robert MacDonald (RIBA), LJMU Reader in Architecture recently presented a paper at Think About Health Conference in London.
Think About Health is an interdisciplinary network of health professionals, users and academics that aims to improve the intellectual basis of the NHS.
Rob, who is also elected Councillor, NHS Merseycare, presented a paper titled 'Medical Architecture; phenonmenological and spacial perspectives.'
In all forms of social institutions there are calls for accountability, inclusion and participation. Not the least in the design of medical architecture. In his paper, Rob argues that Architecture and Design Schools need to collaborate with the NHS and Health Schools to develop the latest thinking in medical spatial architecture and interior design. He reported on how LJMU postgraduate architectural students have designed low-secure mental hospitals, working with doctors, nurses and patients.
Rob has been researching the TIME project (To Improve Mental Health Environments) which is developing five new hospitals in Merseyside. The TIME design teams have been listening to the needs of staff, service users and carers. The aim is to meet the needs of users and deliver high quality environments which help improve patient care and staff satisfaction.
In domestic design, participation has become important especially in the development of social housing such as co-operative housing. Rob questions if we might develop a design approach that involves architects, doctors, nurses, therapists and service users. Such a design methodology could be applied to new buildings, conversions, interiors, gardens, courtyards and allotments.
Rob has recently been invited to design a User Friendly Surgery by Dr Simon Abrams (GP) in Everton, North Liverpool after being recommended by Dr Malcolm Rigler (GP) British Society of NHS General Practices.
A design seminar was also delivered at LJMU's Art and Design Academy when Rob chaired a creative meeting involving patients, medical professionals, artists, environmental engineers and architects.
Other papers presented at the conference looked at Philosophy, Morals and Medical Ethics, Reflections of GPs and Global Ethics.
Full paper is available to view at: www.thinkabouthealth.net