Rethinking the future of hospital design

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Buro Happold’s Hospital of the Future report explores a step change in the evolution of global healthcare facilities.

Buro Happold is taking conventional hospital building design, breaking it down and rebuilding it as a more agile, resilient solution better prepared for the evolving needs and challenges facing the global healthcare system.

What should the Hospital of the Future be? In what kind of world will it offer healthcare? In what conditions? To whom? With what tools? Consulting engineers Buro Happold seek to answer those questions in their report, Hospital of the Future – an engineering summary.

The hospitals of today face a myriad of challenges, with change at the heart of many of these challenges. Change in populations, patients and their healthcare needs. Changes in medicine, models of care and the technology that support them. Change in operations and operators. Changes in climate and resource availability.

Change is the only constant in hospitals. Yet, hospitals across the world are facing the issue of early life obsolescence, caused by an inability to adapt in the face of ever-changing demands and technological developments in healthcare.

Buro Happold, with OMA and other collaborators, was commissioned by Hamad Medical Corporation, one of the leading hospital providers in the Middle East, to develop a prototype for the ‘Hospital of the Future’. Through this research the team sought to diagnose the challenges and consider the drivers for change.

In response, they have put forward a proposition. The prototype is not so much a ‘product’ as it is a system or process. Every aspect of its design has been planned, analysed and developed to enable the hospital to become more agile in a world that is both uncertain and is facing an acceleration in technological innovation.

“The client’s brief was that while we should assume the hospital of the future would be put in the desert, we could put them all over the world, or potentially even on the moon,” says Sallyanne Lewis, structural engineering expert at Buro Happold.

The team has been working on this extensive research project in parallel with a healthcare district masterplan for the Al Daayan site in Doha. Running these workstreams together has given Buro Happold the rare opportunity to explore a step change in the evolution of the hospital. The Hospital of the Future publication and set of resources seeks to share and disseminate the findings from the study.

Buro Happold hopes these resources can be used to advance and inform the global debate and design agenda in relation to the future of healthcare and they welcome partnerships to explore this further. As Neil Harvey, infrastructure expert at Buro Happold, says: “Hospital and medical campus operators face numerous demands. The way we design, build and remodel things needs to change to be fit for the future.”

Click here to download the full Hospital of the Future report.