Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture
Eduardo Benamor Duarte
Traditional hospital care and medical treatment view patients as individuals, without considering the network of family members or friends who that person relies on for health, or who may themselves rely on the patient for wellbeing. Hospitals focus on healing in a vacuum, and hospital architecture plays a negative role in separating patients from friends and family. As a result, a single person’s illness can break networks of support. There is need for a new kind of program that considers the most important part of this network, family, as a whole. A system of buildings within a single neighborhood surrounding a healthcare facility could be used to improve the role hospitals play in patient and community wellness, a place that supports complex interrelationships, allowing people to move in between and support each other to heal as a whole.
Phenix Iron Foundry in Providence, RI, was once the core of its neighborhood, and it not only hosted a network of iron workers who labored together within its large halls but attracted the families of these workers. In this way a community was formed. Today the foundry has been renovated as an office building, which separates people into office blocks and completely destroys the communal foots of the building. However, Phenix Foundry is located near on of the state’s largest hospitals and health facilities. Could the Phenix Foundry function again as a core to connect these health resources and support them to improve patient/family support?
If a member of your family needs hospital care, you may need to find housing near their care facility. However, there is a huge imbalance between Providence’s hospital facilities and temporary living spaces. Most of the hotels and apartment buildings are distant from care facilities. A convenient living space for families of patients is needed, within walking distance of the hospital and capable of hosting the network of support patients need to recover. Within this space for living and interacting between family members and patients, design strategies can provide the opportunity to create a different environment for all, a place where people can recover as one, as family units in unusually difficult circumstances and not as patients.
Li, Jiaqi, "A place for family: support health through community" (2016). Masters Theses. 47.
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