Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the Vendome webinar How the ICONS Have Fared: Mega-Hospitals with Major Dreams. In it, Donald McKahan, AIA, FACHA, Health Facility Planner, Architect and Founder, McKahan Planning Group; D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, FACHA, Associate Professor of Architecture, Texas A&M University; and Francis Murdock Pitts, AIA, FACHA, OAA, Founding Partner and President, architecture+, took an in-depth look at three massive hospital projects across North America and outlined their long-term plans and goals for staying relevant and efficient late in their life. The three facilities discussed were the MD Anderson Cancer Center: Mays Clinic, the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, and the MacKenzie Health Sciences Centre.

The one theme that came through all of the facilities was the need for flexibility and room for expansion. Because of ever-changing medical technology and the need for more space, the inclusion of ample interstitial space, as well as planning for multiple vendors and types of medical equipment supplied these facilities with enough room to expand as needs and technology changed. Similarly, in all of the facilities, there was a strong connection to nature, be it through indoor malls with trees and plants, ample daylighting, or rooftop gardens and convenient access to nature.

This is neither to say that the facilities are perfect, nor that they never needed renovation or expansion, but these large-scale, “iconic” projects are showing that with the right planning and foresight, they can have long and effective lives.

For more information, visit the Vendome Webinar Web site by clicking here.