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The hospital as a whole: introduction and overall design issues

Trace the patient journey along a progressive hierarchy of public, semi-public and private spaces within the hospital.

The hospital as whole is experienced when a person enters from the community and travels across the hospital grounds, through the entrance and main public areas, into a specific department, and finally to the room or destination they are seeking.

This continuum of places and spaces can be considered as the public realm of the hospital, extending from the adjoining locality, along a progressive hierarchy of public, semi-public, and private spaces.

While all spatial and physical features effect this public realm, and these are dealt with in detail in Sections 2 to 8, it is important to consider the overall structure and quality of the public realm to ensure it is strong enough to provide a legible organising principle that also supports more detailed design strategies employed at various spatial scales. In this regard, the current section focuses on the integration and interface with the community, the main patient route through the hospital and the connective tissue of key spaces experienced along the way.

Note: When considering the hospital as whole, it important to think about the Key Design Issues as these are all applicable to across all spatial scales.

As an exercise, recall a recent journey you made in large building, on a campus or a similar setting. As you do this think about the route you took, the things you saw along the way, the spaces you passed through or near such as lobbies, reception areas, or cafes. Did you find your way to your destination using signage? Did you need to use a toilet along the way, did you use a lift or stairs to go from one floor to the next? Overall, how easy, accessible, and comfortable was this route?

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