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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Lecture to talk about intersection of healthcare development, architecture

Photo by Courtesy
Jeff Stouffer

Designing innovative health care centers while keeping up with evolving medical practices can be challenging, but an A&M lecture series aims to dissolve the trial.

The Architecture for Health Lecture Series focuses on the effects of health care developments on the structural design of hospitals through a series of lectures presented by design experts. 

The series is organized by George J. Mann,  holder of the Ronald L. Skaggs and the FAIA Endowed Professor in Health Facilities Design in the College of Architecture. Mann said the lecture series is a way to allow the innovation in the medical industry to work side-by-side with the innovation of architects.

“Perhaps the word ‘hospital’ is obsolete, like the words ‘almshouse,’ ‘poorhouse,’ ‘insane asylum,’” Mann said. “The term ‘health facilities’ implies a proactive and positive  approach to making people healthier and preventing illness in the first place. Think of the preventive maintenance one does regularly on their automobile. We need to take as good care of ourselves as we take of our automobiles.”

As part of the series, Jeffrey Stouffer, executive vice president of HKS, Inc., will present a lecture Friday about different building types within the area of medical facility design. HKS, Inc. is an architectural firm in Dallas that has designed over 800 hospitals. 

“There are many aspects of health design, and we wanted to expose them to the diversity of work that we encounter within the health field,” Stouffer said. “They will be studying the sub specialty buildings this semester and my goal is to expose them to all the various types [of buildings].”

Mann said students studying architecture and how it relates to health must understand how quickly medicine changes. 

“Medical practice is changing by the minute,” Mann said.  “Architectural designers must keep up with the latest medical pharmaceutical research and practices and trends in order to design appropriate health facilities that can deliver health care in an appropriate, accessible, affordable manner.”

Architecture has to remain responsive to medical knowledge and medical delivery systems, Mann said, and the Architecture for Health Program — the largest and oldest of its kind in the country —  is a way for students to learn about how the two fields work together. 

The program is an opportunity for students to establish their connections with the professionals and broaden their visions by immersing in a wide variety of topics, said Zhipeng Lu, associate director in the Center for Health Systems and Design.

“This helps architecture students get familiar with the pressing issues of health and healthcare problems across the world,” Lu said. “[The series] helps students learn the most advanced, state-of-art health environment and healthcare facility design.”

Lu said the lectures that are part of the Architecture for Health Series give students a chance to learn about real world situations through a multi-disciplinary environment.

“This is a unique university-industry collaboration,” Lu said. “Students are learning from not only the professors but also the experienced practitioners.”

In addition to learning about the industry, these talks serve as an opportunity for students to network with potential employers, Lu said.

Mann said many Aggies have gone on to work for HKS, Inc. after graduation. More and more, architecture firms are looking for people who are “hybrids” — people who understand both health and building, Mann said. 

“In health and ways of caring for people, everything is changing, and this keeps our purpose up to date,” Mann said.

The lecture will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday in Room 105 in Building “C” of the Langford Architecture Center.

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