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20 Oct 2022
The past few years have very clearly shown how being outdoors is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help prevent virus transmission. But that is only one reason why there is a growing movement in healthcare design and architecture to make better use of outdoor spaces.
In addition to infection control, the strong therapeutic and wellbeing benefits of being in an outdoor environment have long been recognised. Academic research has shown that incorporating landscapes and attractive outdoor areas within healthcare estates can help with recovery and rehabilitation.
One leading architectural practice in the healthcare sector – HLM Architects – recently reported that it had seen a rise in the number of clients seeking to maximise the landscape available to them, centred around placing more emphasis on the health, environmental and economic value that this can add to their buildings.
It advocates “a closer connection with nature”, arguing that too many healthcare buildings are centred around courtyards and external spaces designed primarily to increase the flow of natural light into the interior – and not to actively enhance their surroundings or the experience of their users. With a carefully considered approach, these natural light goals can work in harmony with thoughtfully designed outdoor spaces, even in heavily built up areas.