Parkin Blog

Social Architecture

We are architects of social facilities; something we take seriously. Social facilities design requires the successful identification of naturally-occurring patterns, the development of new patterns, and the application of these to architecture. We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure our designs respond to the needs – personal, physical and emotional – of the users of the environments we design. Architecture of social facilities responds to society’s needs for specific environments and the shared elements amongst these different architectural types: hospitals, prisons, long-term care facilities, children’s treatment facilities, mental health facilities and rehabilitation centres.

It could be said that architecture and design, to some effect, reflect society’s evolving values and beliefs. Canada’s view and understanding of the healing process and rehabilitation are reflected in the design of newer healthcare, mental health, and prison facilities. Educational and research requirements and needs are evolving quickly, along with demands on the built environment. The community needs of a multigenerational population can also be seen in the design of modern recreational facilities. It never was sufficient to only achieve practical and functional requirements; modern designs need to support multiple uses and users, as well as the emotional wellbeing of users.

With the human experience and well-being in mind, there is increasing commonality in the requirements and needs of the communities we are supporting through our designs. Access to natural light, views of nature, accessibility, and use of colour are just some of the design considerations we incorporate into all of our built environments. Our designs have correlated to the point where it’s clear that full architecture encompasses all fields of humanity–be they justice, health or education.

As an Evidence-based Design Accredited and Certification (EDAC) firm, staffed with EDAC-certified healthcare designers, we are committed to the “process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.” We bring the same dedication, passion, and learning to all of our designs – prisons, hospitals, schools, and laboratories included. The lessons that we learn in the design of a hospital or a school are being translated into better mental health and prison environments and vice versa.

Just as social conventions and norms evolve, so do our designs. We actively attend and participate in research and industry conferences to best deliver innovative solutions for our clients. Our dedication and passion to ensure the best possible outcome for the people who use our environments never waivers.

Comments