Abram de Swaan, ‘Constraints and challenges in building hospitals: The sociological view’, 2008

in: Cor Wagenaar (red.), Abram de Swaan, Stephen Verderber, Charles Jencks, Aaron Betsky, Roger Ulrich e.a., The Architecture of Hospitals, NAI publishers, Rotterdam, 2008.

Architecture affects people. The architecture of hospitals contributes to the well-being and recovery of patients. This bold proposition dates back to the late 18th century, and has been a recurring theme in the functional development of hospital architecture ever since.

The most recent manifestation of this was the phenomenon of ‘Evidence-Based Design’, which originated in the USA. This methodology compares the effects of various spatial factors and provided indisputable evidence that architecture does indeed work for the first time. The positive influence of architecture is one of the two cornerstones of The Architecture of Hospitals. The other is architecture as an historical discipline with a wide-ranging cultural dimension. The hospital, being a public and representative building with a special societal function, is the ideal vehicle to express this cultural dimension. From French and German examples it seems that good architecture can, moreover, contribute to an agreeable, orderly and well maintained environment, which perhaps has a greater impact on the functioning of the hospital than the effects of Evidence-Based Design. Read more..