Healing Architecture: An explorative case study of 1 and 3 bed wards' significance for interaction between patients and relatives at two intensive-care units in Denmark

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review


The project examines how architecture and design of space in the intensive unit promotes or hinders interaction between relatives and patients. The primary starting point is the relatives. Relatives’ support and interaction with their loved ones is important in order to promote the patients healing process. Therefore knowledge on how space can support interaction is fundamental for the architect, in order to make the best design solutions.

Several scientific studies document that the hospital's architecture and design are important for human healing processes, including how the physical environment can have both positive and negative influence on the interaction between the patients, relatives and staff. These are f.ex. the possibility of privacy in intimate and confidential conversations, the possibly of visits by relatives and the importance of furnishing for the course of the conversation.

The project is an explorative case study and consists of systematic observations, interviews and photo documentation. The aim is to collect different kinds of data on: 1. Relatives’ behavior 2. Relatives’ experience and 3. Environment. In order to guide the collection of data and the analysis of them Goffman’s backstage-frontstage theory and Lawsons ‘Language of Space’ is used. Data is analyzed in accordance with principles describes in Robert Yin’s ‘Case Study Research’.

The goal of the project is to create new knowledge which can contribute to new ways to design, plan and organize the hospital and qualify architectural and design solutions in order to improve quality of interaction between relative and patient in the hospital's intensive unit.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference ARCH12 and Forum Vårdbyggnad Nordic Conference 2012.
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventARCH12 Conference: International Conference ARCH12 and Forum Vårdbyggnad Nordic Conference 2012 - Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 12 Nov 201214 Nov 2012


ConferenceARCH12 Conference
LocationChalmers University of Technology



  • Helende Arkitektur, Hospitals design, Intensiv afdeling, Behandlingsstue, Interaktion, Pårørende, Patient

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