A labor of love
It is easy to forget, in our celebrations of healthcare's “edifice complex,” that behind these soaring, shiny exteriors and lavishly appointed high-tech interiors often lies a labor of love. I don't mean that in the sense of planners, designers, and constructors who love their work. Rather, that before the structure came the inspiration—an inspiration that might have been the key to eventually realizing the structure.
Three articles in this issue of HEALTHCARE DESIGN bring that thought to mind: “Cancer Care in a Garden” (p. 62), “Healthcare's LEED Leader” (p. 70), and “A Personal Response: Radiation Oncology Unit at Clara Maass Medical Center” (p. 60). Each has an arresting story of personal vision behind it.
Briefly, the “cancer care in a garden” is provided at the prestigious Stanford University healthcare complex, where an administrator named Lou Saksen worked for 12 years, enduring several iterations of top management, demanding regulatory requirements, and severe construction challenges, to meet a simple goal: to make cancer patients’ lives better.
“Healthcare's LEED leader,” Boulder Community Foothills Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, had behind it a board of trustees who committed themselves four years ago to constructing this country's first LEED-certified hospital, honoring its sustainable design; the board's commitment, in turn, inspired Boulder's hospital planners and architects to ardently explore that vision and, in turn, inspired contractors and subcontractors to go beyond the call of duty in achieving it.
Finally, interior designer Rhona Hershkowitz emerged from a family misfortune that occurred in bleak institutional surroundings with her “personal response”: creating a basement-level radiation oncology unit that nevertheless sparkles and delights.
I'm sure that many other projects were, or will be, covered in HEALTHCARE DESIGN that came about because of inspirational vision of this sort. Although these hospitals and units are made of stone and steel, and encompass winking, blinking, sometimes daunting machinery, they join the company of the world's best work in all fields, for one reason: They are an expression of the heart. HD
RICHARD L. PECK, EDITOR