ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN + URBANISM

Women's Health Center Prototype

WOMEN'S HEALTH CENTER PROTOTYPE

WOMEN'S HEALTH CENTER PROTOTYPE

Siteless | 2017

Aneesha Dharwadker

This project is a feminist critique of women's health architecture, resulting in the proposal of a new prototype.

A 2014 article in The Atlantic Monthly suggested that the gynecological exam experience could be improved through architectural interventions rather than by redesigning the speculum. Author Rose Eveleth noted, “If the speculum isn’t the problem, why do so many women dread the pelvic exam? [School of the Art Institute of Chicago Professor Terri] Kapsalis said that women who have trouble with pelvic exams are probably not suffering from a badly designed device, but rather from a badly designed patient experience.” [1]

Improving this experience is the inspiration for this project. The proposed architectural sequence removes the corridor condition that so many health care facilities rely on, and introduces indirect daylight into the exam room via vertical light wells. Exam, office, and research spaces intersect in the building, suggesting that new knowledge about women’s health can be created in the same location as routine checkups. These two aspects of women’s health can and should work together.

[1] Why No One Can Design a Better Speculum,” The Atlantic Monthly, 17 Nov. 2014.

 Images from existing facilities in Lewiston, NY and Tulsa, OK highlight the design problems in typical facilities: a dearth of daylight, and an emphasis on the exam table as the primary object in the room.

Images from existing facilities in Lewiston, NY and Tulsa, OK highlight the design problems in typical facilities: a dearth of daylight, and an emphasis on the exam table as the primary object in the room.

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