Library Plus: Towards the Self-Curation of Healthcare
Chen, Mu De
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Our heavily populated world is facing exponentially increasing healthcare demands that challenge existing healthcare infrastructure. Struggling to respond to the rapidly changing spatial needs of healthcare, the architecture of healthcare facilities, undergo frequent cycles of building renovation, reconfiguration and expansion. The relevant financial stress and resource expenditure has impelled both publicly and privately funded healthcare institutions to seek the most effective and cost effective ways to deliver quality healthcare results. However, these current resolutions such as facility focus on outpatient services and decentralization of clinical functions, imply a certain shortsighted view that architecture’s only role in healthcare is the facilitation of medical procedures. Whether on the individual or collective level, healthcare is a continuous and comprehensive event that extends far beyond medical procedures that are predominantly reactive in nature. Such is architecture that is capable of contributing to successful healthcare results, by providing a variety of other spatial functions and conditions. With the noticeably growing value of preventative healthcare and interest in the self-curation of healthcare, this thesis intends to redefine the traditional role of architecture in healthcare by exploring the possibility that healthcare and the public libraries can be effectively integrated through architecture. By spatially conditioning the combined access and experience of diagnosis, consultation, awareness education and anticipatory data collection, architecture can become the means to maximize the potential of preventative healthcare, and proactively improve the overall health of a population. Using Brooklyn Public Libraries’ Pacific Branch as an opportunity of investigation, this thesis first examines the needs and trends of both healthcare and the public libraries, to align their mutual interests as institutions and as building types. An unconventional program and a list of qualitative criteria are then created as the basis of a design proposal, which attempts to resolve these two apparently incompatible functions. Finally, a theoretical analysis of the proposed library renovation with added healthcare functions seems to confirm the prospect of this hybrid architecture as an appropriate strategy to begin resolving current and future healthcare challenges.