Hospital design that makes a difference

Have you ever noticed how most hospitals are imposing, overwhelming places? When I have to go to a hospital, I am always amazed by a.) how easy it is to get lost, and b.) how cold and sterile it is. It's as though there is some unwritten code that hospitals should be intimidating and threatening. Not exactly the kind of place that gives you the warm fuzzies, is it?
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With children's hospitals, there is at least some semblance of acknowledgment to try and make a patient more comfortable. During my color consulting training, we spent an entire seminar dedicated to how to use color appropriately, and usefully, in hospitals. It's a huge specialty, so I'm just going to skim the surface for you with some visuals.

There's a new children's hospital being built in Texas,Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, and it is a great example of how you can fully-utilize color. I recently read an article by News 8 in Austin, talking about the project.
Color is interspersed throughout the hospital, adding cheer with bright pops of vibrant color in active spaces like information desks or lobbies, and promoting calmness in spaces where patients are examined or recuperating.Colors within the hospital not only provide visual interest, but they also lead you to specific color-coded departments, like the emergency room or the nurses station. Imagine how your experience in a confusing environment could be assisted by color-aids such as these.

Even the 1,100 hospital staff members will wear color coordinated uniforms so parents will know who's who in the hospital.

Rooms are painted with soft, muted colors which are soothing to anxious children (and their parents!) But not right above the head of the bed, because color casts from the wall could make it difficult for a doctor to diagnose things like jaundice (which turns the skin a yellowish color).

Think about how color is used to promote activity in some instances, and encourage relaxation in others. How can you utilize these enhancing qualities of color in your own spaces?

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