Functional/Flexibility: Nine attributes of adaptable hospital spaces

Feb 01, 2008

When 50 administrators and clinicians at six of the nation’s top hospitals were asked in a survey by researchers at the architectural firm HKS Inc., Dallas, to describe what flexibility means relative to inpatient unit design, the response was enlightening. Seven out of 10 viewed flexibility as adaptability. Why is this important to designers and hospital decision-makers alike? To create a viable unit with flexibility and adaptability, the two design participants must be speaking the same language. Clinicians place higher priority on short-term flexibility—demanding immediate adaptability—while designers often think of longer-term flexibility for operational change.

Tom E. Harvey Jr., AIA, FACHA
Debajyoti Pati, Ph.D., AIIA
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