Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / Service redesign

European Healthcare Design 2018

Blurring boundaries: creating porous healthcare environments for teaching, learning and healing

By Stéphane Lasserre 23 Oct 2018 0

As building typologies blur to create dynamic and sustainable cities and communities, so too do the boundaries of space in our built environments. This talk describes how the National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore (NUCOHS) has embodied a new building typology that obscures the lines between teaching, healing and practice.

Download the slides for this video presentation


Through a convergence of spaces and porosities between programmes, treatment and learning, the facility creates an environment where healing and learning can influence and support each other in a cohesive ecosystem. The NUCOHS demonstrates how the dissolution of siloed spaces is imperative to a new approach to healthcare.

Located on an empty parcel of land, the NUCOHS will act as the fulcrum of the existing campus, linking academic and medical spaces to create necessary outreach to, and connections across, diverse practices.

A large landscaped green area will provide outdoor civic spaces to connect the National University Hospital, Singapore (NUHS) and the NUCHOS, while a network of bridges and covered walkways will link the campus and its users to public transit.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the centre will accommodate about 500 patients a day when fully operational. Construction has been phased and planned so that regular activities aren’t affected. Aiming to make oral healthcare more accessible for residents of Singapore, the centre will offer subsidised dental care and is designed to serve the elderly, as well as those with special needs requiring complex dental treatments. Clinical dental services, education and research facilities will be provided all under one roof.

Treatment floors will allow for close co-operation between teaching and treating, with a combination of tutorial rooms, open concept areas for dental chairs aggregated into pods with low partition walls, private spaces, and flexible waiting areas. Interior spaces combine high ceilings with large windows, providing natural light into the building and connecting interior spaces to nature’s healing influence.

The landscaped courtyard on upper levels of the building features pre-function areas and common spaces to complement connection to the outdoors. The NUCOHS will stand as a principal meeting space and central hub for students, academics and visitors on the existing campus.

Organisations involved