“A healing environment is down to good architecture.” That is what Francine Houben and Ellen van der Wal have said in an interview with ‘Arts & Auto’, the monthly magazine of VvAA, a large service organisation for healthcare professionals.
To design a good healthcare facility, an architect needs to immerse oneself completely into how the ultimate user of the building perceives space. Francine Houben: “When we designed a facility for visual and multiple handicapped children, I moved through the building for two days as if I could not see. Only then, I experienced what a certain illumination angle does to a visually impaired person. I realised how important it is to feel light coming from the side, as opposed to backlight.”
The Mecanoo designed Zaans Medisch Centrum (ZMC) is currently under construction. Ellen van der Wal: “In an existing hospital, the work process will adapt itself to what is and what isn’t possible in the building. Designing a new ZMC gives us an opportunity to reverse this. We can completely adapt the building to the work processes of the staff and ultimately the needs of the patients.”
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