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The Most Architecturally Impressive Hospitals in the World

June 09, 2021

When thinking of a hospital, it's unlikely the first thing that comes to mind is the beautiful design of the building. Rarely do tourists flock to a city to capture an iconic photograph of an architecturally impressive hospital.

Usually, budgetary concerns limit the amount of funding available for impractical requirements such as aesthetics, and the need for a highly clinical environment reduces decorative freedom. However, new research now suggests that beautifully designed hospitals could actually benefit both patients and staff.

In recent years, several hospitals have begun to adopt the idea that aesthetically pleasing surroundings could improve the healing process for patients. A new concept of patient-centered design is catching the attention of health personnel around the world, with an increasing amount of evidence to back the theory.

In this article, we'll explore five of the most architecturally impressive hospitals from around the world and look at the evidence that validates their design.

The Most Beautiful Hospitals in the World

1. Clemenceau Medical Center – Beirut, Lebanon

This modern medical center in the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon was designed by architects Khatib & Alami and opened its doors in 2006. As a John Hopkins Medicine International affiliate, it has won multiple awards for its sustainable design and healing environment. The private rooms,ergonomic design and improved ventilation help to reduce stress and pain, minimizing the use of drugs for symptomatic treatment.1

Beyond its striking design and landscaped surroundings, the hospital boasts 158 beds and 11 operating theatres complemented by a host of modern technology systems, emergency services and urgent care. Amongst its many specialty services are neurology, fertility and IVF, robotic surgery, cancer and radiation and diagnostic services.2

2. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula - Monterey, California

Despite its eye-catching modern design, this community hospital has been around since the 1930s and was founded by the daughter of famous American blacksmith John Deere. Nowadays, it's most well-known for the additional wing built adjacent to the town of Pebble Beach, which opened in 1962 and was designed by architectural pioneer Edward Durrel Stone. In addition to the highly sustainable design, the hospital creates a holistic approach to healing by encouraging the on-site fitness center employees to work closely and communicate with patients' doctors.3

The building includes elements from the surrounding environment to provide a calming, organic feel and makes excellent use of natural light with large, low-lying windows. Natural design aspects such as these create a feeling of balance and harmony, taking into account the patients' point of view from their bed and helping them to feel more included and valued.4

3. Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies - Orlando, Florida

With its tubular glass towers and mirror ball entrance, this spectacular piece of modern architecture would look more at home on the Las Vegas strip than central Orlando. Once inside, the attractive hotel-like features continue, with beautifully decorated rooms, subtle lighting, modern art and luxurious bedding.5

However, it's not all just looks - according to architects Jonathan Bailey Associates, the structural design facilitates smoother daily operations and simplified patient monitoring, making access to the building more efficient for both patients and staff. For labor, delivery and recovery, the hospital offers 30 private rooms, which research shows reduce stays, lowers infection rates and results in fewer patient transfers.6

4. AdventHealth Waterman - Tavares, Florida

This modern hospital is characterized by its striking fabric canopy entrance, resembling a stretched bedouin tent overlooking carefully manicured gardens. The 6-story main hospital building consists of three barrel-shaped wings in the shape of a cloverleaf with an attractive concrete and glass facade.7

Designed by Jonathan Bailey Associates, the 450,000 sq ft building houses 220 beds, providing advanced medical facilities, a cancer center, medical imaging and a 24-hour emergency department. With all rooms looking outwards, patients get an encompassing view of the surrounding nature—a significant benefit proven to reduce pain and shorten hospital stays.8

5. New Stobhill Hospital – Glasgow, Scotland

This outpatient and diagnostic hospital located in northern Glasgow dates back to the early 1900s but has seen many renovations since. The current building, designed by Reiach and Hall and built from scratch by Balfour Beatty in 2009, was voted the world's best hospital of its size in the 2010 Design and Health International Academy Awards.6

Services offered by the New Stobill Hospital include (amongst others) mental health, physiotherapy, renal dialysis, heart and lung investigations, cardiac rehabilitation, elderly care, diabetics, CT scans, MRI scans and gynecology. In addition to the array of medical services, the hospital boasts a cafe, info point and spiritual care sanctuary.9

The Relevance of Architectural Design in Patient Care

While each of these hospitals is unique in its own way, they all represent a new way of thinking that highlights the relevance of design in relation to patient care. There is now a significant degree of evidence to suggest that aesthetics and architecture can help promote healing by improving moods, reducing stress, and streamlining staff activities. Looking ahead, we are likely to see an increasing focus on how patient-centered design in hospitals helps to improve patient outcomes.10

Would You Like to Work in One of These Magnificent Hospitals?

If you desire to work in one of these beautiful hospitals while improving patient outcomes and becoming a well-rounded public health professional, Kent State’s online BS in Public Health or Master of Public Health (MPH) could be the degree for you. Find out how you can help battle diseases, improve healthcare policies, or design population health interventions.