New MRI Facility Takes Inspiration from Nature to Aid Patient Relaxation
World Architecture News, May 6, 2009, Entry: WAN Awards 2009 – Healthcare
The new Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Suite at Hillcrest Medical Center provides solutions to common patient complaints of anxiety, claustrophobia and noise, as well as creating an environment that will attract and help retain quality staff.
The design concept addresses the patient’s feeling of confinement during the scan, turning it into a more relaxed experience, accomplished through abstraction of the natural phenomenon of slot canyons because in nature, these spaces, while physically constrictive, are intriguing and beautiful.
The suite’s design carries the patient through a succession of warm intimate spaces culminating in the Scan Room. The Scan Room is a quiet place of wonder. The curved, wood-veneer ceiling intrigues the patient, while backlit alabaster panels extend the limits of the walls, opening up the space in a horizontal direction.
Sound-absorbing material associated with the ceiling system and walls mitigates the noise produced by the magnet. By using references to nature, such as slot canyons, in the design, the architects hoped to reduce the number of patient scan aborts due to claustrophobia and anxiety, and to have the patient come away with a positive experience from their MRI.