Designing with natural materials creates comforting environment

By Healthcare Facilities Today
December 4, 2013

Ben Rahn/A-Frame Inc.

People work more comfortably and recuperate more successfully in buildings that echo the environment in which the human species evolved, according to an article on the Contract magazine website.

We are spending an average of 23 minutes waiting to see our doctors. Some patients come from remote locations and arrive anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour early before their scheduled appointment, the article said. It is no wonder that the design of healthcare establishments is being influenced by the comforts of home and the natural environment.  

Use of a stone variety or wood species that is indigenous to the project’s region is an opportunity to connect to the culture of the community frequenting the facility. According to the article, materials can also become wayfinding elements guiding patients and staff to their destination while familiarizing them with their surroundings. For example, colored glass panels applied to elevator banks can act as an orientation device. 

Patient experience is a key incentive to create a soothing environment supported by research, the article said. A thoughtful composition with views to nature can become a form of positive distraction, calming the senses by reducing anxiety. According to distraction theory, the more captivating an environmental distraction, the greater the pain reduction. The use of clear glass at waiting zones, corridors and patient rooms provides access to natural light, which can increase levels of patient and staff contentment and decrease feelings of depression.

Read the article.




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