In the human body, the spinal cord, protected by the vertebrae, provides humans with their distinct upright posture. The strength of these bones is incomparable, but deterioration is inevitable without strong muscles surrounding the spine to assist in supporting the frame. In NEXT’s Medical Workspace of the future, the architecture of the spinal cord dictates the layout of the spaces.
Designer: Shannon Turner
Location: Seattle, Washington
Breaking the spine down into individual parts results in two distinct entities: the vertebrae pieces, and the spinal cord that holds the structure together. Experimentation with implementation of these units in a medical office setting resulted in the spinal cord becoming a backlit quartz datum wall that penetrates the entire space, with patient exam and consultation rooms branching off on either side as the vertebrae.
These vertebrae separate patient functions into meaningful sections, allowing for simple wayfinding and flowing circulation. In exam rooms, shelves and cabinets carve into the wall, fusing the spine to the vertebrae stretching away from it.
The vertebrae bones divide the patient areas into three distinct groups: the typical exam rooms on the right, the consultation and massage therapy rooms on the left, and the conference rooms and reception in the center vertebrae. These central collaboration spaces create a disruption in the flow of the vertebrae, further emphasizing the importance of communication and relationship between patient and doctor.
Both patients and doctors interact with this spinal cord wall, whether passing underneath the massive thickness or resting in one of the secluded seating areas. These thresholds shift away from the axis of the corridor, emphasizing the unconscious interaction with the spinal wall. The lowered ceilings in the exam rooms provide constant views of the quartz wall, from any perspective.
The workcafe, open office, and lifestyle areas for the medical staff surround the spine and vertebrae, becoming the muscle areas that provide strength and support to the patients. This lifestyle room creates a sense of collaboration as soon as the medical staff enter the office. Here, doctors and nurses can ask questions and research new and innovative practices together.
Cool, bone-like finishes in the exam and consultation rooms establish the calmness and control needed in these rooms while reflecting the association with vertebrae. Warmer colors penetrate the open office, providing staff with an inspiring and collaborative space to change lives.
The workcafe and kitchen allow the medical staff to work in a more dynamic setting, providing a fresh environment to promote fresh ideas. Giving the doctors their own in-house place to relax and eat a filling meal will help them stay focused. By ensuring their own needs are taken care of, the medical staff is better equipped to take care of the needs of the patients.
Medical Space Rebranding
The newly designed logo for NEXT completes the design package as a minimalist finale represesnting the spinal cord strength permeating even their graphic design. This rebranding creates a cohesive front experience for the patient, always reminding them ff the adamancy of the spinal cord both in the human body and as the inspirational characteristic of their medical experience.
Shannon Turner started her design journey at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Interior Architecture in May of 2018. Throughout her education, Shannon’s designs focused on collaboration and how to improve relationships between people. She founded and became the president of GWU’s IIDA Student Chapter in 2017 to create a space where fellow design students could forge friendships and professional relationships between peers and the IIDA members in DC. After graduating, Shannon moved to Florida and now works for a residential firm.