Gyn_Ecology: A Prototype for Women's Health Architecture
This project is a feminist critique of women's health architecture, resulting in the proposal of a new prototype. The title is derived from Mary Davy's 1978 book GYN/ECOLOGY.
Photos above are typical examples of spaces used for women's health care in America. Of particular note are the unavoidable presence of the exam table (the centerpiece of exam room design) and the dearth of daylight.
This project initially considered a redesign of the speculum itself; however, research on speculum industrial design shows that the object itself has changed little over centuries for good reason -- it's current form allows for use under extreme inward pressure. Instead, medical professionals have suggested that the overall spatial experience needs to be reconsidered.
Diagram of typical event and space sequence during a gynecological visit. One significant problem is that weight measurements are taken while patients are still fully clothed with shoes on, resulting in inaccurate data.
Reorganizing activities suggests that patients only need two primary spaces: a shared zone, where they can check in and wait, and a private zone, where they can have the exam and converse with the doctor.
The waiting area is the central volume of the building
Exam rooms wrap the waiting area on three sides. There is no corridor in between.
Ceilings of the exam rooms are raised to bring daylight in through skylights.
Doctor's offices wrap around the exam rooms.
Research labs and conference rooms sit above exam rooms. These spaces are glass, and can be viewed from the waiting area.
Concept Collage 1
Translucent metal screen facade, with color visible from the outside denoting different occupancy types (patients, doctors, researchers).
Concept Collage 2
Entryway interior with stair and yellow check in counter
Concept Collage 3
Waiting room with X columns. Research rooms are visible through glass walls on Level 2.
Concept Collage 4
Exam chambers are divided into two sections, divided by a partition wall and sliding door. Patients now have room to change clothing without the imposing presence of the exam table. Skylights allow ample daylight into each room, and the L-shaped cross section supports research spaces above.