In the end, at each of these facilities, the most important element is the thoughtful design that went into crafting the experience of place, in the formal sense, for an individual or for a group of people together. Whether birds in trees, the beauty of flowers in a garden, or dappled sunlit views, distractions from treatment and connections to nature afford people in these facilities a greater measure of sustainability: as healthy buildings and as healthy people.
Yes, they all contain sophisticated behind-the-scenes systems that reduce how much they cost to operate and how many resources they consume, but for the average patient, nurse, or doctor on the average day, these things mean little. As these new facilities age, or are completed, the true tests of their sustainability and the green aspects of their designs may be how little noticed they are by the people who use them.
Like the prized institutions of previous ages, well-designed buildings with integral connections to nature will effortlessly become good places to be, despite the challenging reasons people have for visiting them. HCD
Michael Hinchcliffe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is an Associate Principal with Payette. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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