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Oct 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 17) , Sep 15, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 16)

Good Design Informs Translational Process

Moving Research from the Bench to Bedside through Utilization of Innovative Architecture

  • Centre for Brain Health

    The Centre for Brain Health (CBH) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver provides another example where designed collaboration and interaction spaces drive creative TR solutions. Because the facility focuses on the prevention, causation, and treatment of brain dysfunction, the optimal treatment for these disorders requires the creation of interdisciplinary teams in integrated clinics.

    Within the integrated clinics the TR process flows seamlessly, moving information between patient-care areas to wet-lab research space. A dry bench lab between the two areas forms a transition in the process, intertwining patient care with lab research activities. The degree of patient access, security, and types of research activities form the basis of the CBH linear distribution.

    Four core architectural principles enhance the TR process at CBH. Integration of functions is a core principle to achieving TR goals. At CBH, the combination of interdisciplinary discovery and TR with integrated neurological, psychiatric, and related rehabilitation clinical services meets the needs of the building users.

    A public atrium serves as the primary orientation and organizational space for the building. Public spaces on level 1 such as a café, centralized reception, and research clinic check-in are located directly off of the public “street” created at the lowest level of the atrium. Similarly, the remaining four upper floors are connected and integrated through the atrium space.

    Collaboration is facilitated through a design strategy that fosters and enhances interdisciplinary associations, intellectual teamwork, knowledge transfer, and the generation of best practices.

    Flexibility is incorporated into the CBH building to create and share resources and spaces. This enhances research partnerships, effectiveness, patient access, and treatments.

    Sustainability is also a core principle at CBH as the facility seeks to achieve state-of-the-art LEED gold-certification. UBC provides an example of best practices in energy-conservation management, while also contributing to education and health improvements of patients, staff, and the public realm.

    These are just two examples in the myriad of combinations available to increase the possibilities of research and the betterment of patient care through architecture. Each new opportunity provides exciting alternative paths to discovery. As the maturity curve continues to move forward in the TR field, buildings will improve efficiencies, save money, and deliver more effective therapies.

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