– Effect of Urban Planning on Microeconomics
If an urban design is open to interaction, it can create chances for local stores to offer their services to their community.
– Improving the mental and physical health of inhabitants
When it has been established that a severely ill person no longerbenefits from major medical interventions, palliative end-of-life care may be proposed. Along with a shift in treatment, a move from the clinical setting of the typical hospital to an environment that is sensitive to the circumstances of the patient’s suffering and respectful of the patient’s impending transition may be appropriate. For an architect of such end-of-life settings questions arise: how can the physical environment contribute to counteracting typical feelings such as fear and isolation? How can architecture support patients, their families and care givers by giving expression to symbolic and spiritual dimensions of dying while not disregarding the functional aspects of palliative care. Can architecture contribute to establishing death as a celebrated part of life, similar to birth? Is it possible
to create a sense of the sacred in the everyday life of a palliative care unit?
The Palliative Care Center at the University Hospital in Göttingen, Germany, designed by the Göttingen firm bmp architekten and opened in January 2007, can make significant contributions to answering these questions and to advancing the discussion about what the architecture of palliative care, perhaps even health care altogether, should be in the future. Patients on this ward are extremely ill, often close to death, and typically suffering from extreme physical pain and other debilitating symptoms. The goal of palliative medicine is to reduce human suffering and to stabilize, and possibly improve, the quality of life of the patients during the last weeks and days of life. Pain
reduction and symptom control are achieved through a holistic care model that includes medical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions.
In designing the Göttingen unit, the architect worked closely with the staff psychologist to give Careful detailing facilitates ease and comfort of use and assists patients in their struggle to adapt to the changes in life circumstance. Furnishings are selected with regard to materiality and color in order
to support the patient’s physical and psychological well-being.
Along a single-loaded corridor the glazed spaces between the structural supports have been developed into alcoves, allowing either for a temporary retreat from activity or for quiet conversation between patients and visitors, while offering views into an exterior courtyard garden.
Both inside and out, materials and colors generate a sense of subtle warmth and create an ambiance that offers a variety of activities and moods: outward views and inner reflection, stimulation and relaxation, calmness and movement, communication and silence, activity and withdrawal. By doing so, psycho-social and spiritual aspects of life are moved into the foreground, made possible by the spatial organization of the ward and emphasized through innovative and thoughtful details.
Two spaces were given particular attention. The Room of Sound is intended as ‘a world apart’ and highly contemplative in nature. A narrow band of light separates the acacia wood floor surface from the walls. The walls themselves are made of soft batik-dyed orange fabric and curve gently, perhaps reminiscent of a womb. The suspended ceiling plane is made of joint-less stretched film upon which moving clouds and the daylight spectrum of colors can be projected. Given its intention to provide an experience of sound, several flat loudspeakers hidden behind the wall fabric can create soothing soundscapes which further enhance the wide range of possible light moods. Curved glass panes offer views of a small meditative garden where the gentle flow of spring water flows from a rock into simple reflective water basin. A small sculpture inside the window invites silent meditation.
Distinguishing itself radically from institutional bathrooms, the Bathing Room focuses on feeling and seeing. The rectangular volume of the space is softened by an inner curved wall, which elegantly hides cabinets and a sink while providing a glow of indirect lighting for the space.
Reminiscent of a wellness spa rather than the ward of a hospital, the bath contains a tub that features water jets and small light sources incorporated into its inner lining, a ‘rain shower’ as well as a infrared lights to dry off quickly without the use of towels. On the wall across from the tub is a largescale screen upon which a variety of soothing movies, typically of water or landscape scenes, can be projected.
To further enhance the experience of this bathing event, the ceiling is dotted with tiny sparkling starlike lights, the color of which can be adjusted to the patient’s wishes.
There is also a stereo to support the mood with appropriate music as well as the possibility for aromatherapy.
Feeling via the skin, such as experiencing water on one’s body, is not only a joyful sense perception but also a sensation that can be experienced up until the very end. Focusing on life rather than death, this facility not only affords the best quality of life possible under the circumstances but also provides an instructive example of how the experience of everyday activities, which as healthy persons often take for granted, can potentially create a sacred atmosphere for the transition into death.
The author wishes to thank Dirk Eggebrecht, Dipl. Psych., staff member of the Palliative Care Center at Universitätsmedizin Göttingen; and Michael Timm, Dipl. Ing., of bmp architekten, both of whom gave generously of their time to share insights into patient and staff needs as well as considerations about
the design of this facility.
© Published by 2A Magazine, Issue # 12
– Cultural Promoting in Cities
Emphasized by many and forgotten by other architects, spirituality is an important quality, which connects with the very core of human needs. Qualities such as love, kindness, peace, etc. are moralities that lead us to a better future and if neglected, it can depart us from our very human selves by time, space can be an efficient representative of these phenomenons. Architects such as B.
V. Doshi refer to spirituality in architecture as places that has no particular usage but also you can do anything in them. They also are designed by context and culture.
– Resource Management
he interplay between cities and resources is highly diverse and complex. Some 75% of all natural resources worldwide are consumed in and by cities, and the quality of land, air and water is majorly impaired by harmful emissions, sealing and waste water. Explicitly urban problem-solving approaches are increasingly coming into focus, such as the agricultural use of fallow land, resource recovery from waste, and nature conservation in cities.
– Environmental Awareness
Embracing the ecology of a context as a key design indicator is not only an aspect of sustainable design but it also affects the wellbeing of a city and people in general. Green design is no doubt the future of design.
– Conservation and Rehabilitation of the Urban Heritage
When we want to define “urban heritage”, what comes to the mind of most urban planners and managers are usually “monuments”, i.e. churches, temples, all sorts of religious buildings, palaces, castles, fortresses, historic city walls and gates and other types of institutional buildings (e.g. of education, science, administration, or other social purposes). This understanding often excludes historic residential areas and historic city centres which equally represent the urban heritage. In addition, there may even be non-tangible elements of urban heritage, such as customs and beliefs, which play a role for the articulation of space use and the built environment. Due to the existence of international cultural organisations, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) and the International Commission on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and a good number of local conservation groups, monuments have at least a “lobby” and are in a somewhat more favourable situation than historic residential areas. The above organisations and interest groups seem to yield some success in their efforts to achieve greater interest for the course of preservation and conservation of old monuments of historic value. However, seldom is a crossreference made between urban heritage and sustainability.
The recent concern for sustainability and the “brown agenda” of urban environmental development has completely excluded urban heritage from the sustainability discussion.
2 The built environment and built expressions of culture, of military, economic and religious powers and forces as part of the national heritage deserve to be included in this perspective, and urban heritage should attain the status of a preservable asset which can benefit the present and the future of cities.
Such an asset is not only limited to cultural perspectives, but could become an economic asset with good potential for economic exploitation, for instance through tourism, for
culturally-based image building of local economic development or the promotion of corporate enterprises.
– Social Education
Raising social awareness about society’s concerns and challenges by educating them in various fields.
It will create more responsible, useful and socially wiser citizen.
architectural expression to this holistic model of care. Taking its clue from the word ‘pallium’, Latin for ‘coat’ or ‘cloak’, trellised climbing plants provide a green protective layer on the exterior of the palliative ward shielding patient rooms, wooden decks and adjacent garden rooms.
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