The World's 8 Most Architecturally Beautiful Hospitals
Hospitals are not always the cheeriest place. But a beautifully designed hospital can make even an extended stay feel more peaceful and comforting, lifting spirits for patients and families as well as doctors and staff. These eight hospitals consider both the physical and emotional well-being of their patients. Diverse in style and structure, they are united in the care and forethought with which they were built.
1. Royal Children’s Hospital | Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
A stark hospital can be anxiety-inducing enough for any patient, let alone a scared and sick child. Dallas-based architecture firm HKS Inc.’s goal for the redesign of Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital was to create an environment that was nurturing and therapeutic.
“By giving a child a chance to be a kid,” the firm stated, “a hospital can alleviate any fear that a child has and help facilitate the healing process.”
With playgrounds and a two-story aquarium, the hospital offers inviting safe spaces that meet the emotional needs of its patients. Meanwhile, its open spaces, mobile sculptures, and vibrant sun-shading petals impart an airy brightness—colorful in a way that’s neither garish nor cartoonish, but instead warm and engaging. The hospital’s five-star Green Star rating shows that the structure goes above and beyond to accommodate its surroundings as well as its patients.
2. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula | Monterey, CA, USA
On the northern California coast, Monterey is a city that boasts no shortage of striking natural beauty. Built along Pebble Beach in the 1960s by modern architecture pioneer Edward Durrel Stone, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula incorporates that beauty directly into its aesthetic through a masterful use of light, gardens, and other natural elements. Stone’s midcentury aesthetic looks as fresh and modern today as it did 50 years ago, and the hospital continues to stay true to its look with each new addition from its Pavilions expansion to its Ryan Ranch outpatient campus.
3. Akershus University Hospital | Lørenskog, Norway
Designed by legendary award-winning Danish architectural firm C. F. Møller Architects, the Akershus University Hospital is considered the most modern hospital in all of Europe.
“The design of the complex reveals the influence of the high priority given to daylight for all workplaces, views of the surrounding landscape, and contact with the outside environment,” states the firm in its project profile, noting its widespread use of glass and wood panels to create varied textures and friendly informal spaces.
Completed in 2008, the hospital won Best International Design at the prestigious Building Better Healthcare Awards in 2009.
4. Florida Hospital Waterman | Tavares, FL, USA
The stark institutional feel of a hospital can instantly make a patient feel ill at ease - with the construction of Florida Hospital Waterman, the goal was to diffuse that anxiety with a serene and inviting design.
“We wanted a facility that didn’t have the traditional health care look, in order to make patients more comfortable,” said Mike Hoffmeyer, a Dallas-based principal with architectural firm RTKL Associates who completed the project alongside Jonathan Bailey Associates in 2003.
The most striking aspect of the hospital is the 3-story atrium, which acts as the hospital’s hub and main lobby. While the atrium’s surrounding windows offer peaceful views of surrounding lakes and woods, its translucent fiberglass fabric roof is soft enough to let in light yet strong enough to protect patients and visitors inside.
5. Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children | Orlando, FL, USA
With the stunning glass globe and cable-suspended canopy at its entrance, preceding 11-story columns of dark glass towering along the Orlando skyline, Winnie Palmer could easily be mistaken for a luxury resort hotel. But the $100 million structure is a hospital specializing in women’s and children’s care, conceptualized by global architectural firm Jonathan Bailey Associates UK LTD to feel more like a restful and rejuvenating hotel stay than a stressful hospital stay.
6. Harlem Hospital | Manhattan, New York, NY, USA
In 1936, the Works Progress Administration commissioned several murals to brighten Harlem Hospital Center as part of its Federal Art Project program. The problem with murals is that they may fade or decay with time. But as part of a $325 million modernization project in 2012, these murals have been digitally restored and preserved for future generations, printed on backlit glass to turn the hospital’s new patient pavilion into a vibrant piece of historic art five stories high and the width of a New York City block.
“All the murals tell wonderful stories,” Chuck Siconolfi, senior principal for health care at overseeing architectural firm HOK, told the New York Times at the pavilion’s launch. “We said, ‘Let’s go beyond displaying these murals and make them emblematic of the whole community and its role in American life.”
7. The London Clinic | London, England, UK
London’s stylish upscale Marylebone district is home to several iconic sites, from Sherlock Holmes’ own 221B Baker Street to The London Clinic at 20 Devonshire Place. Looking more like a boutique hotel than a hospital, The London Clinic has retained its historic style since its doors opened in 1932. In 2010, architectural firm Anshen + Allen succeeded in designing a brand new 8,000-square meter 8-story cancer center that is thoroughly modern while blending perfectly with the original site’s aesthetic.
Earlier this year, Avanti Architects announced that it will be taking on renovations to the main hospital site, with updates including a new Harley Street entrance and an 8-story atrium.
8. Providence Holy Cross Medical Center | Mission Hills, CA, USA
In 2011, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, CA opened the doors to its South Tower Expansion. The $180 million project, entrusted to HMC Architects and Swinerton Builders, is 4 stories of crisp angular structure and cool mosaics of ocean-colored glass. Beyond its aesthetic beauty, the hospital is also beautiful move for the environment—HMC Architects notes that it’s one of the first inpatient hospitals in the state of California to make a bid for LEED Silver certification.
How healthcare can safeguard itself against cyberthreats
One of the most fundamental lessons from the COVID crisis is that health should always be a priority. In a similar fashion to the human body that frequently fights off viruses and foreign invaders that intend to cause it harm, the sector itself is now a prime target for another type of external threat: cyberattacks.
The figures speak for themselves: between December and January this year, hospitals in the UK were at 89% capacity, with 7,000 fewer available beds than there usually are. As the pandemic increased pressure on hospitals, clinics, and research facilities to create a treatment for patients globally, it has left the sector exposed to hackers who, like a virus, have been targeting it relentlessly and evolving their tactics.
From patient records being held ransom, to fake emails claiming to originate from the UN WHO, the NHS, or vaccine centres, through to attacks on the cold supply chain to find out the secret formula of the COVID vaccine, the healthcare industry is facing constant cyberattacks and struggling to cope. This threat is unlikely to go away anytime soon – and as such, the industry needs to take a proactive, preventative stance to stay safe in a dynamic digital world.
The responsive nature of healthcare – particularly of hospitals – means that efficiency is crucial to the industry’s standard operations. To support this, the sector has been embracing technological advancements that can improve the quality of work, enabling staff to meet pressing deadlines, and enhancing patient care. For example, the industry has been digitising records and improving its ways of working through digital means over the past few years.
This shift is critical to offer high quality patient care; yet, it also means the sector has become more dependent on IT, which can come with a risk if cybersecurity processes employed are deemed as inadequate.
Without the correct security measures in place, the desired efficiency gains realised, can be easily lost in a heartbeat. Simply put, an elementary glitch in the system can have a tremendous ripple effect on many areas, from accessing patient records and conducting scans, to maintaining physical security and protecting the intellectual property of experimental treatment development.
To prevent this, healthcare organisations need to ensure they’re considering cybersecurity as part of their overall digital transformation strategy – and setting the right foundations to create a culture where safety goes hand in hand with patient care.
Before implementing cybersecurity process, healthcare organisations need to assess the potential risks they face. Depending on how much confidential data the trust has, where it is stored, who has access to it and via which means, the cybersecurity strategy and associated solutions will change.
It’s fair to say that a medical device start-up where all employees have a corporate-sanctioned laptop and access data via a VPN will have radically different needs to a large hospital with hundreds of frontline workers connecting to the hospital’s Wi-Fi using their personal device.
These requirements will pale by comparison to a global pharmaceutical giant with offices in multiple locations, a large R&D department researching new treatments for complex diseases and a fully integrated supply chain. Considering the existing setup and what the organisations is looking to achieve with its digital transformation strategy will therefore have an immediate impact on the cybersecurity strategy.
Despite this, there are fundamentals that any organisation should implement:
Review and test your back-up policy to ensure it is thorough and sufficient – By checking that the organisation’s back-up is running smoothly, IT teams can limit any risks of disruption in the midst of an incident and of losing data permanently.
In our recent State of Email Security report, we found that six out of ten organisations have been victims of ransomware in 2020. As a result, afflicted organisations have lost an average of six days to downtime. One third of organisations even admitted that they failed to get their data back, despite paying the ransom. In the healthcare industry, this could mean losing valuable patient records or data related to new treatments – two areas the sector cannot afford to be cavalier about.
Conduct due diligence across the organisation’s supply chain – Healthcare organisations should review their ways of working with partners, providers and regulatory institutions they work with in order to prevent any weak link in their cybersecurity chain. Without this due diligence, organisations leave themselves exposed to the risks of third party-led incidents.
Roll out mandatory cybersecurity awareness training - Healthcare organisations shouldn’t neglect the training and awareness of their entire staff – including frontline workers who may not access the corporate network on a regular basis. According to our State of Email Security report, only one fifth of organisations carry out ongoing cyber awareness training.
This suggests it is not widely considered as a fundamental part of most organisations cyber-resilience strategy, despite the fact many employees rely on their organisation’s corporate network to work. By providing systematic training, healthcare organisations can help workers at all levels better understand the current cyberthreats they face, how they could impact their organisation, the role they play in defending the networks, and develop consistent, good cybersecurity hygiene habits to limit the risks of incidents.
Consider a degree of separation – Information and Operational Technology (IT and OT) networks should be separated.
Although mutually supported and reliance on each other, employees shouldn’t be accessing one via the other. This should be complemented by a considered tried and tested contingency and resiliency plan that allows crucial services to function unabated should there be a compromise. Similarly, admin terminals should not have internet access to afford a degree of hardening and protection for these critical accounts.
As the sector becomes a common target for fraudulent and malicious activity, putting cybersecurity at the core of the organisation’s operations is critical. It will help limit the risks of disruption due to cyberattacks, reduce time spent by the cybersecurity team to resolve easily avoidable errors, and ensure that institutions can deliver patient care, safe in the knowledge that their networks are safe.
Fighting future threats
With technology continuing to change the face of healthcare, the surface area and vectors available for attacks by malicious actors is constantly increasing. With the introduction of apps, networked monitoring devices, and a need for communication, the attack vector is ever expanding, a trend that needs to be monitored and secured against.
To prevent any damage to patients, staff, or the organisation they are responsible for, healthcare leaders must put security front and centre of their digital transformation strategy. Only then can the sector harness the full benefits of technology. Doing this should include implementing cybersecurity awareness training to challenge misconceptions around security, encourage conversation, and to ensure employee knowledge of the security basics and threats faced.
This ultimately allows healthcare organisations to do what they do best: provide the highest standard of patient care, safe in the knowledge that their operations, patients, and data are safe.