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Wednesday Dan Flower

We at a+u are attempting to both process and adapt to the unfolding global health and civil rights crises. As a way to engage with this situation, we would like to use our digital platforms to compile and publish freely-accessible observations, commentary, and messaging from within the architecture and urbanism communities. Below, please find the eighth contribution to this series, by Dan Flower, Design Director at HKS.

Architecture is about improving lives. As a global architecture practice, we see it as our duty to gather information and disseminate it amongst our clients and the rest of the profession so that it improves the buildings we all use and inhabit. Whilst this has always been the way HKS practices, it has become more vital than ever in recent months.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for design based on pragmatic real-word research and expertise, an approach which HKS has always been a proponent of and followed. We have strong advisory and research teams including practitioners, economists and psychologists, which combine with our designers to ensure the utility of the places we create is optimised, and that we deliver viable buildings that will serve us now and for generations to come.

Of particular relevance at the moment is a study that I am involved in collaboration with the global health team looking at the optimum model of a hospital for pandemic preparedness. The concepts explored in our report are based on learnings from rapid adaptations that have been made to facilities in the UK and US during this pandemic. A primary focus is creating flexible facilities that enable day-to-day operations to continue alongside a pandemic – or other emergency – scenario, something that many healthcare facilities across the world have struggled with in the face of this outbreak.

Alongside this we are looking at how other facilities in our key global sectors, sports and entertainment, education, workplace and residential can be informed by our healthcare expertise to adapt and change to be able to operate safely and successfully in this dynamic situation.

Dan Flower is a Principal and Design Director at the HKS London office. He brings a lifelong passion for applying design to improve the quality of life for all and focuses on the creation of progressive solutions that match and anticipate evolving demographic needs. His work as a studio leader for Citizen HKS, the firm’s philanthropic design initiative, has been featured in publications including Dezeen, FastCompany, and Architectural Digest. He lead the design for the award-winning Kachumbala Maternity Unit in Uganda.