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Spaces dedicated to health and healing can benefit from wood’s inherent structural and aesthetic qualities, giving design professionals a natural economic advantage.
The healthcare sector has long looked to sustainable design as a tool for improving patient outcomes and staff efficiency. Typically, those features include a connection to the natural environment, such as through daylight, views to the outdoors, indoor vegetation and the use of materials found in nature, including wood.
Research shows that wood visible in healthcare spaces can contribute to lower stress levels, reduced perceived pain and better recovery rates among patients, as well as higher staff performance. Mass timber structural members can be specified in place of concrete and steel, and they can be left exposed for patients, staff and visitors to see. Allowing wood structural members to serve doubly as finishes with the potential to reduce costs by simplifying a project’s design.
In addition to its cost an aesthetic advantages, wood’s ability to dampen sound makes the material well-suited for spaces where privacy is required, a common need in healthcare facilities.
Additional characteristics make wood suitable for healthcare spaces:
The following case study shows how wood is an economical, health-oriented building material for healthcare facilities.
Case Study: Herrington Recovery Center; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Wood features prominently in this 21,000-square-foot, 20-bed treatment facility that overlooks a lake in Wisconsin and offers scenic views of the surrounding natural landscape. The project team chose wood for structural and aesthetic functions, including exposed cedar glue-laminated timber (glulam) structural beams, laminated veneer lumber around doors and windows, and mass timber I-joist floor framing. Using wood to frame the structure afforded cost advantages, and it helped add warmth to an inherently institutional space. Read more.
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