Healing by design:interior architecture and interior design of public spaces of children's hospitals

Abu Lawi, Rawa (2017) Healing by design:interior architecture and interior design of public spaces of children's hospitals. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This research focuses on four main topics: Children’s’ Cognitive Development as it relates to age-appropriate interior design; Children’s Hospital Design and healing environments; Public Spaces in Hospitals – interior architecture and interior design; Contextual Issues – specifically, the religious, ethnic and national context of Palestine. Literature indicates that research is needed in the design of healing environments for children in order to create spaces that are child-friendly and meet their cognitive development needs. There is little research available about the design of the public areas of children’s hospital including the main entrance, atrium and thoroughfares. Also, most empirical research uses traditional social science methods to understand the requirements for healing environments for children (e.g. interviews, observations). Few studies use design- or arts-based approaches. Furthermore, most research has been conducted in the West, with little research from other countries, like Palestine, where few hospitals are devoted only to children. This research aimed to determine: (1) key design factors, functions, constraints and programme requirements for designing the public spaces of children’s hospitals in an age-appropriate way to promote healing; (2) how context-specific issues relating to Palestine play a role in determining the key design factors. From a critical analysis of the literature, specific research questions and the development of a primary research plan were developed. The main research question is: For a new children’s hospital in Palestine, how should the public areas (i.e., main entrance, atrium, and throughfares) be designed so that they are suitable for all age ranges and promote healing? In Palestine, qualitative data were collected during nine co-design and cocreation workshops that included arts-based activities and semi-structured interviews. Participants included children from 3-18 years, parents, doctors, nurses, reception and admissions staff, and four groups of designers. All participants, excluding the designers, participated in drawing and modeling activities. The use of drawings with children is an indispensable tool because their verbal expression is often not highly developed, and because preferences and ideas can be expressed more intuitively. Similarly, models can be effective tools because children can express ideas and preferences about form, materials and size through them in a way that words alone cannot describe. This study uses a thematic analysis approach to analysing the qualitative data. The results of data analysis were sorted into main themes and sub-themes. The key findings of this study are: context-specific issues (i.e. culture, gender, separation and religion issues); physical environments: interior architecture and interior design – medical spaces (e.g. emergency, outpatients, triage room and others); non-medical spaces (e.g. play areas, indoor and outdoor green areas, entertainment activities, spaces for eating, reception, waiting areas and admissions); interior design elements (e.g. image design, art, form and shape, wayfinding signage, and colours); and environmental considerations (e.g. noise, hygiene, smell, and light). These findings will inform guidelines and recommendations and will be supported by visual models for the design of children’s hospitals, particularly public spaces in the particular context of Palestine. The guidelines will contribute to the creation of supportive healing environments for all stakeholders, but particularly for children. This study demonstrates that practical design methods in the research process can be very effective in fostering creativity and in drawing out ideas and preferences from young children and other stakeholders. Such methods provide a novel approach to the design of healing environments for children.

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Thesis (PhD)
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07 Aug 2017 10:02
Last Modified:
26 Sep 2023 00:29