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Q&A: Nadel Architects’ Winters Shares Healthcare Architecture & Design Trends

National  + Weekender  | 

Connect Healthcare is slated for October 29 and 30 at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, CA. Follow this link for more information and to register for the conference.

Connect Media was lucky enough to score a Q&A with Patrick Winters, AIA, LEED AP, principal and design director at Nadel Architects, a leading Los Angeles-based architecture and planning firm. Read on to find out what he has to say about trends in healthcare architecture and design.

CONNECT: From behavioral health facilities to recreating mixed-use spaces, how is architecture and design propelling the healthcare industry forward?
WINTERS: Architecture and design are propelling the healthcare industry forward by “unbundling” healthcare services so they’re offered in a variety of areas. Before this new trend took shape, most healthcare amenities and services were only offered in one specific space: a medical building or hospital-like center; now, patients can find these same services in mixed-use spaces and shopping centers, too. One of the trends we’re seeing grow rapidly in healthcare design is the need for a “healthcare village,” where healthcare intersects residential and retail, especially for older generations that live in age-restricted communities.

Additionally, with the increasing expansion of horizontal and vertical mixed-use buildings, there is a mixture of different occupancies overall. Medical, office, residential and retail have often been separated by space, but now are joining under one roof. With new architectural elements and layouts, consumers are able to visit one mall or shopping center and stay for several hours depending on their needs, which allows for cross-compatibility.

CONNECT: What five architectural and design elements are most common when designing the new generation of MOBs and mixed-use facilities?
WINTERS: Hospitality is quickly becoming a movement in the healthcare industry. Developers are looking to provide an environment that is not only designed well, but a space that is customer-friendly, welcoming and caters to comfort from the moment one walks through the door. In the same way, customers check in to hotels and rate their service and comfort levels, people are now looking for this same level of hospitality with their healthcare providers and affiliated amenities.

Five specific elements that are most common when designing these spaces include:

1. Ease of circulation: Having entrances, exits and specific units or rooms clearly marked throughout a building.

2. Clean exterior: Providing a façade that is less imposing and more hospitable before a customer reaches the entrance. This includes using a neutral color palate that derives from the nearby landscape. When we designed El Centro Regional Medical Center in Imperial County, we used light exterior paint that brought out the desert landscape, while also including greens and blues inside the building as the spring season is gorgeous after a rainfall.

3. Indoor/outdoor relationship: An increasingly popular idea is to provide access to nature indoors. Nature, even just the ability to have a clear view of it, is thought to be integral to the healing process. We try to pull building’s surrounding environment to celebrate where it is with the internal design. Additionally, with a shift in focus to the idea of wellness; we’re incorporating concepts such as “wellness gardens” where patients can spend more time outside.

4. Natural light: To provide a sense of welcoming, designers are incorporating elements that provide as much natural light as possible. With El Centro, we designed a statement lobby that is not ostentatious but instead, more welcoming.

5. Natural materials: Ensuring the building has an organic feeling is becoming a fundamental part of the design. As healthcare environments are leaning towards hospitality, we try to design it to feel more welcoming, natural and calming using Earthy tones and materials.

CONNECT: How are architecture and design adding to the convergence of retail and healthcare?
WINTERS: Both retail and healthcare are going through different, profound transformations. Retail is becoming “experiential” while healthcare is becoming “hospitable.” A commonality between these two industries is all customers want to be in a pleasant environment, while being able to take care of multiple tasks. With people being so busy in their everyday lives, it’s critical to create a space where their time can be easily managed. A simple example of efficiency is a mom that drops off her kids at school, then go to one mixed-use center where she can take a yoga class, grab coffee with a friend, visit her chiropractor, and pick up groceries before picking up her kids from school again.

In 2018, we saw less soft-good stores opening and more food, health and wellness concepts dominating the market. In 2019, we anticipate this trend to grow exponentially with the healthcare market at the forefront.

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For questions, comments or concerns, please contact Jennifer Duell Popovec

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