Uncharted Waters: A hospital in Shenzhen, China 

ARCH 572 | Spring 2014
Clinical Professor William Worn 


China’s health-care sector continues to develop at an astonishing rate: spending is projected to grow from $357 bil- lion in 2011 to $1 trillion in 2020. From pharmaceuticals to medical products to consumer health, China remains among the world’s most attractive healthcare markets, and by far the fastest growing of all the large emerging ones. China’s Ministr y of Health has a stated goal that 20% of all patient visits throughout the country’s hospital system be handled by private opera- tors by 2015. Given that currently around 8% of patient traffic is routed through private hospitals, the 20% goal represents a dramatic increase in the need for private hospital beds.To paraphrase Vice Premier Li Keqiang, reform of the countr y’s health-care system has entered “unchar ted waters.”


In response to the need for private hospital beds, this studio will design a private, “Western” style hospital in Shen- zhen.The hospital program will include inpatient care (180 beds); diagnostic and therapeutic services; administrative and public areas; suppor t ser vices; and outpatient clinics accommodated in approximately 450,000 GSF.The hospital will be designed using the FGI Guidelines. Students will revise the program to respond to conditions unique to the Chinese health- care environment.The Program will respond to the health implications of environmental stressors in Chinese cities such as degraded air quality and the related rise in respirator y disease. Students will analyze and amend the Program to respond to emergency “surge” situations such as the recent SARS and Avian Flu epidemics. Concepts of “Resiliency” will be incorporated into the individual student’s program and design proposal.


Shenzhen is a major city in the south of Southern China’s Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. Shenzhen’s modern cityscape is the result of the vibrant economy made possible by rapid foreign investment. Both Chinese and foreign nationals have invested enormous amounts of money in Shenzhen in manufacturing, finance and health- care. Shenzhen is now considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.


Students will learn contemporar y hospital design best practices with emphasis on the specifics of clinical flows; patient safety; access to nature; the place of advanced clinical technologies; and evidence based design interventions.The stu- dent must resolve the place of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) within a Western style hospital. Additionally, the ethical implications of VIP Suites will be examined within a culture of growing economic inequity.

Evidence Based Design

The studio will employ Evidence Based Design methodology throughout the semester. Evidence Based Design (EBD) is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes. (Center for Health Design, http://www.healthdesign.org/ ) Evidence Based Design has followed the development of Evidence Based Medicine and is the accepted standard for healthcare design in the US and internationally.


Students will work individually or in teams of two.

Required text:

Kliment, Stephen. Building Type Basics for Healthcare Facilities. Second Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ. 2008.

Suggested Texts:

Cor Wagenaar (ed.), Abram de Swaan, Stephen Verderber, Charles Jencks, Aaron Betsky, Roger Ulrich et al. The Architecture of Hospitals. Rotterdam, NL: NAi Publishers, 2006.

Verderber, Stephen. Innovations in Hospital Architecture. New York and London: Routledge, 2010.