Healthcare architecture – More than a building

By Melissa Lefebvre
Architectural Associate


Passion. Commitment. Strength.  These are a few words that come to mind when I think back on my experience at the 2017 Healthcare Design Conference in Orlando. I had the opportunity to attend the conference through the Herman Miller scholarship program for emerging healthcare architects.

Six other scholarship recipients from around the country and I got to experience firsthand the passion that many healthcare designers possess through presentations, product representation, and project tours. Connecting with the other scholarship recipients was one of the highlights of the conference for me. Sharing our stories about what brought us to healthcare design and where we were in our architecture careers was very grounding amongst all that was going on at the conference.  We had the opportunity hear great keynote speakers, as well as pack our days with presentations that ranged from interpreting codes and regulations to exploring the challenges of designing and constructing a critical access hospital 30 miles out at sea on Nantucket Island.

Hollis Center at Lakeland Regional Health

Another one of the highlights of the conference was a tour to the Hollis Care Center at Lakeland Regional Health.  It was very powerful to experience how the designers created an environment that pulled in the outside world with such grace in the new infusion addition as it played along the edge of an existing lake adjacent to the site. Their commitment to enhancing the patient experience was very evident.  Reacting to nature to any degree within design can make such positive steps towards the patient experience. This overarching theme of bringing the outside in stuck with me throughout the remainder of the conference. I heard inspiring presentations on many other projects and the challenges they faced, as well as learning about products at the expo that are so beautifully empathic to the patient experience.

Hollis Center Infusion Center interior

There is a strength amongst the healthcare community that draws me in as a designer.  My experience at the Healthcare Design Conference has lit a fire in me that will burn for many years to come and only get brighter with years of serving those that rely on us to make their healthcare experience easier.