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Hospital Design Guide: How to get StartedBy Hussain Varawalla
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The art and science of designing a hospital anywhere is a complex affair. Beyond technical requirements that modern medicine demands and rigid functional relationships between different medical departments, the designer has to cope with a host of more subjective issues like the anxiety of the patient, the stressful work environment of the staff and the need to build a sustainable and healing building; Hippocrates’ injunction to the medical community being, “First, do no harm.”
This design guide will address pre-design programming and concept design, which in India are a much neglected but essential part of the process of designing a good hospital.
This guide is not a tome on the theory behind designing good hospitals. My colleagues in the first world would probably bemoan the scant attention paid here to the myriad statutory requirements that their code books specify for construction of healthcare facilities in their countries. There are very few codes applicable to hospital design in India; you could count them on the fingers of one hand.
The majority of my work experience has been with privately financed hospitals, a doctor, a group of doctors or a healthcare corporate entity being my client. Public sector hospitals present a substantially different design approach, I will write here only of private sector hospitals.
By means of this book I will try to enable you to come up with a “sketch” of a great hospital. I mean that figuratively but not literally. In my career so far I have always worked in horizontally aligned design offices’, meaning that one person handles the beginning of all the projects, i.e. the pre-design programming, then takes them to concept design, schematic design and upon sign-off of that stage by the client, another larger team of professionals takes over to produce the tender documents and then “good for construction” drawings. As mentioned before, his volume only addresses the beginning of the design process. The sketch is but a stepping stone in that process.
So, welcome aboard! I hope the following pages will contribute to the betterment of hospital design in India and the rest of the emerging economies, but it is you who are the future, dear reader, you hold the key to the sentiment expressed above, and I hope to enthuse you to read this guide till the end and enable you to design much better hospitals then I ever did.
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