The word hospital tends to conjure images of white walled rooms, linoleum floors, metal gurneys and maze-like buildings filled with identikit wards. We go to hospitals to feel better – yet these spaces often feel as if they were designed with efficiencies rather than wellness in mind.
A new exhibition at London’s Wellcome Collection, however, looks at some very different kinds of treatment centres. Living with Buildings showcases innovative healthcare designs that combine clinical and human needs, from a 19th century sanatorium designed by Alvar Aalto to a prototype for a mobile health clinic. Through a mix of art, photography and historical artefacts, it examines how architecture can impact our physical and mental health and raises some thought-provoking questions about the spaces we inhabit.
“The exhibition looks at how architecture has impacted on people’s health historically but also how architecture has evolved as a response to that, so where health is situated as part of the design or a priority for building,” explains curator Emily Sargent.