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PRESCRIPTIONS OF SPACE: Prototypes for an Architecture of Health 

Harvard GSD Masters Thesis Project 

January 2013 

Advisor: Inge Rocker

Selected for Studio Works Honors, Fall 2012

Completed Masters Thesis proposing a new system and set of prototypes for architectures of health.  The project was developed based on extensive research into healthcare spaces and the healthcare system in the US, the typology of the hospital (today and throughout history), philosophy of medicine and the relationship between health and urbanism.  



America is in the midst of a healthcare crisis. While the health of our nation is typically discussed an economic or political issue, I argue that it is also fundamentally a design problem.   With few exceptions, hospitals function as medical fortresses – designed for isolation and intervention. Given the current state of health in America, this infrastructure is fundamentally unsuited to our current crisis, which is being fueled by chronic disease — the invisible epidemic of our time.   The only way to break the cycles of escalating costs, diminishing health, and increasing inequality is to undertake a radical reconsideration of the hospital in both its urban and architecture form.   An architecture of health requires a different system: one that… -acknowledges the fundamental causes of disease, -favors prevention over intervention, and – imagines the hospital as an integrated rather than isolated component of the city.   My thesis project explored a response to these challenges though the development of a new proposition for an architecture of health.  As an urban entity, this new type of hospital is distributed — creating different scales of access and services.  It is networked — linking mobile and local care centers to existing acute care hospitals.  And it is integrated with other community infrastructure — including food, transportation and recreations networks.  I developed three prototypical buildings in the neighborhoods of Roxbury and Mattapan in Boston, areas that have suffered from systemic challenges related to poverty, violence and poor health despite their relative proximity to many of the country’s leading hospitals.