Fortunately, the times when you went to your GP and felt a lot sicker as soon as you entered because of the sterile interior is over by now. This also applies to the general practice we had the honour to design in the heart of Rotterdam. A visit to the GP is not about being ill, but about becoming and staying healthy. Visitors must feel welcome guests and not patient who have to wait nervously in a chilly environment.
Many studies emphasize how important it is to take this into account in the design of places that people visit for their health. A lot to be gained mentally when you furnish a practice with this in mind. In addition to the patients, there are of course also the employees as the main users of the general practice, for whom the work environment must be a warm, welcome place. Especially now that GP’s increasingly hold telephonic and online consultations the emphasis in general practice is more and more on the people who work there. With consultations at a distance it increasingly becomes a workplace rather than a treatment room.
While privacy is of course very important in such a place, we created an open practice with much daylight and an emphasis on natural elements. In other words: based on biophilic design. A design with nature as the guiding principle. The general practice – created in a place that used to be just empty space, where we installed all electricity and the climate system – was given long sightlines, organic forms and natural materials. Seen from above, the forms and sections were given the shape of a spine. In addition, we have a sharp eye for detail. We even turned the hatch in which people can hand in a jar of urine into a wooden drawer that is not only convenient and discrete, but also attractive to the eye.
Photographer: Chiela van Meerwijk