THE HOSPITAL OF THE FUTURE:
A Speculative Report by OMA
In our Winter 2012/13 issue, the architect and AMO – the research arm of his firm, OMA – speculated that the countryside would replace the city as the focal point of public design consciousness. Now, we publish a third prognosis by OMA/AMO, in which the hospital is considered both as a design problem and as an architectural clue to evolving sociopolitical attitudes toward both public and personal health. Examining what got us here – and where the hospital, as built and conceptual space, will go next – the report reveals a modern institution of mutable form and function. Today, as new attitudes and technologies emerge alongside novel viruses, the research team, introduced by OMA partner Reiner de Graaf, asks: what could the hospital be, tomorrow?
"Equally unforgiving is designing a hospital. One mistake on the part of the architect and someone’s life is in danger. Propose too long a corridor and the doctor arrives (too) late at the patient’s bed. Choose the wrong finishes and infections proliferate. One door opening in the wrong direction could prove fatal in the event of an emergency. In hospital design, architecture stops being a matter of taste. Architecture and technology find themselves in an arranged marriage that is impossible to break. There is zero tolerance for frivolity. The architect’s choices are obelized, without fail and without mercy. In the hospital, the question of whether architecture is a form of art finds its brutal answer: It isn’t!"