Guest Lecture on Health Wellness and Architecture

A guest lecture by Prof (Dr) Anil Dewan,was organized for the students and faculty members of SOAP. He is Professor of Architecture at School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and has a doctorate degree in Preparation of Minimum Standards/ Guidelines for hospital design. He specializes in Health Facilities, Planning and Design. Prof. Dewan discussed the changing concept of Hospital Design in today's context; from conventional, sterilized monotonous building to a more friendly, welcoming and soothing environment for the patients. He emphasized the significance of health facilities in the rapidly urbanizing cities which show exponential increase in population. Hence the issues of deteriorating air and water quality, traffic congestion, crowded dwellings and sanitation. In such a situation, health facilities take the role of 'Healing Environments' and need to offer more than just medical care. He described Comfort, safety, sustainability, health and happiness as the pillars of Hospital Design in contemporary times and gave the following pointers to students:


  • Comfort was described as the soothing environment that relaxes the patient and all users of the hospital. Also thermal and acoustic comforts are prerequisites for a good hospital.
  • Safety especially at times of a natural or any other catastrophe is important. The hospital should be structurally and seismically safe so that it can deal with patients when other structures in the vicinity are damaged due to an earthquake or floods. Also the services in terms of power back up and other facilities should be adequate for emergency situations.
  • Sustainability in a hospital should cater to waste management, use of local material and other resource conservation methods. Green guidelines should be followed.
  • Healthincludes mental, physical and environmental health. He suggested use of outdoor and indoor healing landscapes.
  • Happiness is defined as a state of mental and emotional wellbeing. This is achieved by creating an environment that nourishes psychological health.


Prof Dewan also addressed the Design Competition organized by St. Gobain which addresses all the issues mentioned above as an integral part of hospital design. This competition requires a Mother and Child Hospital to be built adjacent to a lake in Rajarhat, Kolkata. This competition has been given as a design exercise in studios in many Colleges of Architecture across India. SOAP also has introduced this in Arch Design Studio for Semester VII. Students of VII semester were shown some important slides of the site and were given an overview of the concept and limitations of the design. Prof. Dewan emphasized the need for a strong concept in design. He also showed some examples of hospitals that exhibited a welcoming environment especially for children. These included hospital in India (Kalawati Saran) and abroad (Royal Children's Hospital in Australia, Rainbow Children's Hospital, Nicholas children's Hospital, Miami). To facilitate child friendly ambience, he advocated the use of colours and abundant sunlight. Prof. Dewan encouraged students to show celebration of life and a new beginning as a strong feature in the design of Mother and Child Hospital

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