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Syllabus for

Academic year
ARK263 - Future visions for healthcare, housing and work 3: Healthcare architecture  
Rum för hälsa, boende och arbete 3: Vårdens arkitektur
Syllabus adopted 2019-02-20 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPARC
22,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Architecture, Architecture and Engineering

Course selection in architecture has a separate process. Please contact Director of Studies Anna Knutsson if you have questions.
Teaching language: English
Application code: 05130
Open for exchange students: Yes
Maximum participants: 30

Module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0117 Project 9,5 c Grading: TH   9,5 c    
0217 Project 13,0 c Grading: TH   13,0 c    

In programs



Göran Lindahl

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ARK260   Space for healtcare, housing and work 3B. Care ARK261   Future visions for healthcare, housing and work 3: Healthcare architecture ARK262   Future visions for healthcare, housing and work 3: Healthcare architecture


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

Course specific prerequisites



Designing spaces for healthcare is one of the most complex and therefore challenging architectural design commissions there is. You must be able to handle intricate design tasks in which many and often conflicting parameters have to be prioritized and weighted with many stakeholders involved. In this processes you are requested to create a high quality architecture coordinating a good patient environment with demands for high-class work conditions, sufficient space for treatment, care logistics, advanced technical systems design etc.

Today there is a new awareness of the crucial importance of architectures as being a part of a good healing environment. The building itself has been shown to promote health, reduce time for treatment, decrease medication and help to reduce the stress experienced by patients, their families, and the teams caring for them. All this opens up new possibilities for architecture to be an important part of the healing process instead of just delivering a functional structure where healing takes place. 

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

The students shall obtain general knowledge about and ability to design large scale, complex and sustainable buildings (healthcare) integrated into the surrounding environment and urban setting.

Knowledge and understanding
- Understand theories and history of healthcare architecture as a part of the professional, cultural and societal context.

Abilities and skills
- Design healthcare architecture that supports sustainable development from environmental, social and economic aspects.
- Work interactively with complex programming, combining spaces for care, patient experience, work environment, logistics and architectural systems thinking.
- Handle a design driven work method for complex commissions.
- Practically apply the concepts of evidence based design and healing architecture.
- Apply concepts of "Future proofing"-generality, flexibility and adaptability.
- Integrate structural design and principal technical requirements that are essential to fulfill the goals of sustainability and future proofing.


The Healthcare Studio at Chalmers Architecture has a curriculum that is founded on a dedicated pedagogical vision. It combines explorative design exercises with analytical and systematic procedures, literature studies and organized reflection. The Studio works with context-rich "real" commissions that are a part of the planning processes in one Swedish County Council together with clients and users.

Each year a new application project is carefully selected. A typical project is a hospital site, a new building or healthcare unit with a significant scale and level of complexity and therefore enough challenging. We enter in a phase where the program is still open and we can nourish from the engagement and interests from the client and other stakeholders. The students projects will in this way have a chance to influence the client's process and get opportunities to present proposals to a broad range of persons and actors. 

The professional situation for creating high quality healthcare architecture has developed very positively during the last decade. After years of low activity, Sweden has today entered a period of new investment in healthcare facilities. Firstly, healthcare is changing rapidly due to constant new development in medicine, technology, nursing, rehabilitation and changing demand patterns. Secondly, in Sweden, a great proportion of the existing hospital building stock is out-dated and difficult to adapt to new demands. Society is forced to make high demands on the quality and cost of healthcare delivery. Healthcare architecture is today recognized as an important factor in reaching these goals. This wave of construction provides a great opportunity to create a new stock of high quality healthcare facilities. The market consequently calls for architects with interest and skill in healthcare.

Hospitals (and office buildings, universities etc.) have a demand on them for generality and flexibility, namely to be "future proofed" or adaptable to continuous change. This quality differs from more singular type buildings like museums, community centres, residential buildings etc. Furthermore, in hospital design both the scale and the briefs are large. Healthcare architecture is additional complicated by the speed of change and the collaborative planning tradition of healthcare facilities in Sweden. New forms of interaction in multi professional design processes are rapidly developing. A challenge for architects is therefore the dynamic methods in use for yet unknown and variable planning objectives. 


The overall pedagogical approach in the Healthcare Studio is to see architectural design work and learning as model making and reflection in and on action. Emanating from this approach, three methodological strategies have been developed as a model of design learning in the Healthcare Studio:

1. Design learning as reflection in/on action
2. Collaborative design to support innovation and teamwork
3. Simplifying complexity by obstructing the perspective

The studio is organized in phases with the purpose to put forward a clear and productive design process. It has a design driven approach for understanding and coordinating the complex assignment. Interwoven with the design work runs studio themes established as study visits, lectures or literature seminars. Between themes are shorter events for reflections/evaluations/check points. The purposes of these are to ensure the input of other skills and issues such as critical reflection, theory and technology into the development of the design work. To stimulate the conceptual level it is important to work interactive and investigative with the program. Here we will lean on the parallel theme discussions and be inspired by different workshop methods. 

Research will be an important engine in future development of Healthcare Architecture. In the studio we address that by letting research be integrated with the pedagogy of education. Students will be involved in on-going research projects at the Centre for Healthcare Architecture in various ways, for example by working with research problems or be involved in developing materials and solutions, but also to lifting more visionary ideas for the future-oriented, projective research. In this way, students are trained in both practice relevant, problem-oriented approach and advanced design thinking. 


The Architecture of Hospitals. Coor Wagenaar (ed), NAi booksellers,Rotterdam, 2007.
The Power of Architecture - Towards Better Hospital Buildings, Hennu Kjisic, Studies in Architecture 2009/41 Public Building Design
Roger S. Ulrich, et al. A Review of the Research Literature on Evidence-Based Healthcare Design, HERD Vol. 1, No. 3 SPRING 2008
Investing in Hospitals of the Future (2009), The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. 
Project Programme New Karolinska Solna (2008) - Stockholms Läns landsting
Ryd, N. (2003) Exploring Construction Briefing, from Document to Process, doctoral dissertation, Department of Space and Processes, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Fröst, P. (2004), Designdialoger i tidiga skeden, PhD diss, Chalmers pp21 -58

Examination including compulsory elements

The assessment and evaluation incorporates a
portfolio-based project with its description and argumentation. A short visualised
dissertation is requested to complement the architectural proposal. Its purpose
is to present and reflect on the learning process achieved in the studio work,
workshops, themes and research.

Page manager Published: Mon 28 Nov 2016.