ruminations about architecture and design

Friday, June 6, 2014

the waiting

In past posts I've used the phrase "terminal design" to describe certain things made by humans that have a fundamentally fixed form that defies dramatic refinement. Sledgehammers, machine guns, shipping containers, cranes, and file cabinets are potent examples. Architecture has fewer examples of terminal design, and I argue that it's concentrated in residential buildings. Living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms constitute endpoints in space management. Decoration and geometric arrangements are unlimited in scope, but there are certain proportions that most people agree are suitable.

Healthcare architecture is by far the most protean of design challenges. We can entertain the idea that in the future sophisticated robots will undertake nearly all procedures in pleasant settings with a far greater degree of success than our fellow humans. Until then, we will all be condemned to waiting rooms and exam rooms that amplify anxiety and distress. And all the magazines will be out of date.

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