In his “10 Books on Architecture” in the First Century A.D., the Roman architect Vitruvius gave us the formula for good architecture – “Firmness, Commodity, and Delight” – a formula still respected today, it has served us well. But I’d like to humbly propose a new formula for our complex buildings of the 21st century, especially our Healthcare Facilities – “PERFORMANCE”, “FORM”, and “FLOW”… the definitions might be as follows:
- Performance = Excellence in achieving purpose
- Form = Beauty, inspiration and comfort
- Flow = Strength, and the ability to adapt
Healthcare organizations and their design teams have made great progress over the past decade in the FORM of the healing environment of new facilities and in supporting advances in clinical care and technology. The design challenge ahead of us now is to further improve the PERFORMANCE, efficiency and effectiveness of clinical environments and their ability to FLOW with an increasing pace of change, demands for flexibility, and integration into the neighborhoods, communities, and lives of our citizens.
It may be a stretch, but I can’t help seeing a connection with what’s happening in the design of Opera Houses and Concert Halls – achieveing new levels of acoustic performance, becoming smaller, flexible, and more integrated into the communities they serve. I was inspired by architectural historian Victoria Newhouse’s discussion of her new book on the Charlie Rose program last night. The book is “Sight and Sound” and I highly recommend viewing the discussion on Charlie’s web site.