Project team:

Client: Charité, Berlin/D
Architects: Graft Architekten
Media content: Art+Com
Lighting consultants: Edwin Smida – Licht Kunst Licht


Supported by:

Philips, Fresenius, Ophard, Dimedtec, Guldmann, Barrisol

06. Jun 2014

Architecture and design for ICUs

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Tobias Hein

“Perception-based architecture for contemporary health care design” is how the architects from Graft in Berlin describe their work. The statement sounds more than promising: a healing environment based on good design and observing the principles of perception. Following a three-year period of research two pioneering intensive care units (ICUs) were developed at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany and used by four patients. Lighting was to play a key role in the design of the ICUs, given that we all know from relevant studies that the time required for convalescence can be reduced substantially if the patient is exposed to sunlight.

The Charité in Berlin/D is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe. Top doctors and scientists from around the world research, heal and teach within its walls. Over half the German Nobel Laureates in Medicine or Physiology are from the Charité, including Emil von Behring, Robert Koch and Paul Ehrlich. The university hospital is recognised worldwide as an excellent place of learning. The importance of light, and its impact on humans and their sleep behaviour, has been a focus of the work performed at the Charité for years. The project described in this article is not only concerned with the usual beliefs related to light, but also the question as to whether good design, and in particular light, can be used to promote and support convalescence. The ICUs developed in close collaboration with the team from Graft were expected to fulfil the highest standards in achieving a calming and high-quality atmosphere in the spaces, which are sensitively designed to align with the patient’s perception and needs. The goal was to achieve a significant reduction in the number of stress-inducing factors, to minimise the patient’s feeling of helplessness and fear, to improve the acoustics in the space and ensure the rooms received sufficient daylight. The design intent was to enable a measurable improvement in the healing process and therefore a significant reduction in the occurrence of delirium and long-term cognitive impairment. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 93
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

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