CABE calls for excellent healthcare buildings to be the rule, not the exception
18 October 2006
We want to see renewed ambition to put design at the centre of neighbourhood healthcare, with buildings that communicate care as well as providing care.
At the climax of a national programme of events on healthcare building design, CABE called for renewed ambition to put design at the centre of neighbourhood healthcare.
CABE chair John Sorrell said CABE was seeing new buildings that can only be described as 'better than what was there before'. 'Most work perfectly well, but that is far from good enough. Every healthcare building needs to communicate care as well as provide care.'
The event was held at Barts Hospital where the Breast Care Centre, designed by Greenhill Jenner Architects, shows what can be achieved with good design. Every detail, including inspiring art, has been thought through to create a calm and reassuring environment for patients and their families.
Good design also means having a clear plan, using natural light and ventilation, augmenting the design ethos with the right materials, finishes and furnishings, and restraining climate change. John Sorrell pointed out that with the focus on prevention, the design and management of the neighbourhood is also critical.
The seminar at Barts concludes a national series organised by CABE during 2006 which has brought together those planning, commissioning, designing or managing healthcare facilities at neighbourhood level. Delegates have shared their experience and understanding of what makes a good healthcare building - and also the obstacles that still stand in the way.
Delegates at the previous seminars in Birmingham, Leeds, Luton and Glasgow - each of which included a tour of a special healthcare building - identified some of the problems: disjointed working; a failure to appreciate that good design makes long-term economic sense; and low aspirations. CABE's report Designed with care: Design and neighbourhood healthcare buildings buildings identifies 10 key principles that together can create an outstanding healthcare building.
Delegates at Barts heard about the newly completed Lewisham Children and Young People's Health Centre, designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects. The first of its kind, it was specifically designed to meet - under one roof - the health, social care and educational needs of young people in a high-quality, family-friendly environment.
Good local health facilities are all the more important now as the government moves towards shifting care closer to home.