This investigation was conducted for a conceptual design competition, specifically focusing on the design of a therapeutic community for space travel. The competition encouraged innovation by asking participants to solve challenges anticipated in the future delivery of healthcare without the usual restrictions tied to budget, schedule, and codes. This research focused on Translational Medicine, or “bench to bedside,” which is an important frontier in healthcare applications. This approach in medicine relies on the use of new knowledge obtained in clinical practice to scientific research in the laboratory. The research raised questions about how Translational Medicine might drive innovation in healthcare design, especially with respect to emotional well-being and behavioral health. If we conceived a research and healthcare environment as a “therapeutic community,” how would this approach impact the program and spatial adjacencies? What if the community lived where it conducts its research? How might the spaces be designed to allow for resilience in response to “disturbances” in the community, be they biological (e.g., outbreak), social (e.g., conflict), or behavioral (e.g., depression)? Our research drew knowledge from literature reviews, interviews with healthcare experts on best practices in behavioral health design, research on viral behavior and human health in space flight; and principles of lab productivity and biophilic design. We ultimately applied our research to the conceptual design of an interplanetary vehicle, Vooster Lab, intended to host a “therapeutic community” for the three-year trip to Mars in 2035.
This article originally appeared in Vol 13.01 of the Perkins&Will Research Journal. CLICK HERE to see the whole article.