Towards a New Hospital Architecture
Present urban acute NHS hospitals are rigid architectural structures composed of spatial and medical planning requirements that are underpinned by complex inter-related relationships. One assumed relationship is medical technology’s affect upon hospital space. There’s limited research exploring the relationship between NHS hospital space and medical technologies. Furthermore, little is known about the implications of emerging technologies (ETs) on future urban acute NHS hospital space. This study investigates the link between hospital space and medical technology to visualise the spatial consequences of incorporating anticipated medical ETs into future urban acute NHS hospitals.A unique single futures prospective methodology is adopted with a mixed methods approach. This includes historical research, a quantitative investigation of four London case studies and a literature exploration of three medical ETs (biotechnology, robotics and cyborgization). Primary data generated from this study forms the basis for creating scenarios of future urban acute hospital environments. Findings reveal that medical technologies impact directly on hospital space, thus, confirming the existence of a link between hospital space and medical technologies. Results also reveal that even without nanotechnology progression, medical technologies decrease in equipment size during the course of their development. This trend contradicts recent medical planning practice which ‘super-sizes’ high-spec hospital rooms (see Chapter 3). Additionally, a campusstyled hospital typology is determined as the preferred flexible design solution for creating sustainable 21st century urban acute NHS hospitals. Findings lead to recommendations that guide medical planners with the future-proofing of acute hospital space by providing insight and alternative medical planning solutions that incorporate medical ETs into future urban acute NHS hospitals.
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