DESIGNING CHILD-SIZED HOSPITAL ARCHITECTURE: BEYOND PREFERENCES FOR COLOURS AND THEMES
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Gaetano Cascini, Marco Cantamessa, Dorian Marjanovic, Monica Bordegoni
Author: Verschoren, Laure (1,2); Annemans, Margo (1,3); Van Steenwinkel, Iris (1); Heylighen, Ann (1)
Institution: 1: University of Leuven (KU Leuven); 2: A33 architecten; 3: osar architects
Section: Design for Life
Hospitals tend to be associated with being ill and suffering from pain. Especially for children a hospital stay can be a poignant experience. On top of not feeling well, they have to exchange their familiar environment for the structured hospital system. Our study explored the role of architecture in making hospital stays more pleasant for children. More precisely, we investigated what child-friendly hospital architecture means from the perspective of young patients, and what role architecture plays therein. To this end, we combined observations in a child oncology ward with interviews with young patients, their parents, and hospital staff. The insights gained in this way shed a new light on findings available in literature on designing child-friendly hospital architecture. Moreover, while the literature often advances generalizing concepts, this study shows how children s experience of hospital architecture can be highly personal. As such, our study suggests that designing child-friendly hospital architecture is a matter, not so much of preferences for specific colours or theMES, but of more complex design principles like flexibility and customizability.