Evidence and Speculation: Reimagining Approaches to Architecture and Research within the Paediatric Hospital

Evidence-based design (EBD), a method of design that is derived from evidence-based medicine, might at first seem a far-cry from the concerns of speculative design, but in their article “Evidence and Speculation: Reimagining Approaches to Architecture and Research within the Paediatric Hospital,” Rebecca McLaughlan and Alan Pert show that speculative design functions in ways that productively complement EBD. Speculative design offer ways for architects and researchers to imagine new possibilities for design that go beyond the visions of EBD, enabling us to ‘contemplate solutions that would not otherwise be justifiable’ (146) while challenging design choices that reinforce the status quo without adequately considering their necessity nor their ramifications, thus limiting innovation. McLaughlan and Pert examine two speculative projects, “The Fable Hospital” by Imogen Siberry and “Neverland” by Ding Yu, to show how their alternative conceptions of the entrances and waiting spaces of a hospital critique existing design choices that patronise young patients, disingenuously elide the exceptional aspects of the hospital space and isolate young patients from one another. Taking seriously the importance of patient-centred design, these speculative forays into the possibilities for the hospital space ‘attempt to match the emotional intensity that can accompany a hospital visit’ (151).

Read the full article on the Medical Humanities Journal website.

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