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Solving Design Contradictions: from Concert Halls to Hospitals

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

Image Credit: © dps | Flickr
‍Image Credit: © dps | Flickr

The big challenge for architects designing concert halls is to design the architectural acoustics to meet the needs of varying musical styles. (1)

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM CONCERT HALL DESIGN

The design challenge of a concert hall is at first glance contradictory — to foster closeness and, yet, to surround listeners with the life and essence of a music’s sound.

Different levels of intimacy and aliveness vary depending on music style. What makes this even more difficult is that, intimacy and aliveness are very difficult to quantify — thus, design for. (1)

Such contradictions exist in other architecture types. For instance, hospitals must design to cater to as many patient needs as possible while striving to keep hospital costs low. In office buildings, the need for both individual work and team work is vital – the contradiction surfaces when considering how interconnected the two should be.

SOLVING FOR CONTRADICTIONS

Timing is everything (well, almost.)

A great hospital design could, in fact, help to meet just the right patient needs at just the right time in their healing process. This yields faster recovery and; thus, less hospital cost since patients stay for less time.

The secret is not to meet every patient need, whether they need it or not, but to meet individual patient needs at just the right time and in just the right way.

The key is to fine tune your design so you can orchestrate not just how it works, but when it works.

Instead of trying to solve two separate problems, find where they might interrelate — often, by getting to the root of each problem, you will uncover that the two are not as far apart as you once thought.

Often, what may seem to be a contradiction is really not.

(1) Thompson, Craig. Architectural Acoustics. Illumin.usc.edu.

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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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