Almost every Friday until Nov. 22, guest lecturers will be speaking in the KAMU studio at Texas A&M, discussing new architectural innovations in healthcare facilities as part of the Architecture for Health Lecture Series.
Since Aug. 30, the School of Public Health and the College of Architecture have hosted guest lecturers to speak about the effects that hospital facilities can have on its patients, with this year’s series focusing specifically on women and children. These guest speakers explore new and innovative ways to design and build hospitals that would have a positive impact on the patients and their caregivers.
George Mann, professor of health facilities design at Texas A&M, said the attendees, especially architecture students, learn about the different ways to design buildings in a way that is not just pleasing to look at, but can make people feel physically better.
Mann said he hopes that these lectures will help students apply their skills in a way that they may not have before.
“Sometimes in schools, there is a detachment from reality in the practical aspects of how to design and build a building,” Mann said. “So, it exposes them to the challenges ahead of time that they may not face in a studio project.”
Mann said that the theme of this year’s lecture series is very important because the expanding field of architecture in medicine offers great opportunities for students.
“The health field is constantly changing,” Mann said. “I found a way where, with the lecture series which we all go to, and with the studio project, it’s enough to … get them interested going in the medical area, which is a big slice of construction pie.”
Mann said he is very proud of the work he and his students are doing in architecture, especially regarding this year’s lecture series. According to Mann, A&M is the most influential university in this field of architecture.
“We have the largest concentration of faculty and students in architecture for health program on the planet, to our knowledge,” Mann said. “And not too many schools do that.”
According to some of Mann’s students, these lectures help them learn more about specific fields inside the architecture. Environmental design senior Kyndal Gordon said that this lecture series has been different for her than the series in the past.
“It’s really difficult to design for a field that you really know nothing about,” Gordon said. “The lecture series is really an extension of the classroom for us because that does give us some insight for what’s needed for hospital design.”
Environmental design senior Kimberly Lambeth said this type of design is different compared to her other projects because it is as much about functionality as it is about comfort for the people.
“Going to these lectures kind of opened my mind to something different that I didn’t necessarily think about,” Lambeth said. “Especially whenever it comes to healthcare, and also design within healthcare, and so being able to see how it affects the different people involved … has been really nice.”
Steve Templet, a senior project manager for Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects, gave a lecture on Sept. 20 to discuss the effects that planning and design can have on the patients and staff of pediatric facilities. He said in his lecture that one of the biggest concerns is creating a space of comfort in a place that is normally uncomfortable.
“With a lot our spaces we struggle with that institutional feeling,” Templet said. “Can we provide an imminent sense of care and family, while not impeding the caregiving itself?”
The main goal of this year’s lecture series is to show attendees that it is important to find comfort in typically series situations, and it is the job of all parties involved to make that happen. Templet said that seeing from multiple perspectives will make a project successful.
“There is also available to us, intuitiveness, the common sense approach to various values that we all learn,” Templet said. “We learn it as both healthcare recipients and healthcare designers.”