“I really feel that I can make a difference for people in difficult situations”

January 27, 2021

Focusing on healthcare was not obvious to Anna Arias, who is an architect at White. But the opportunity to help people and make an important contribution to society made her determined to working with healthcare environments.

 

Why did you choose to focus on healthcare environments?

I’m actually pretty scared of hospitals! I always wanted to work with public buildings, but I never imagined I’d be designing buildings for healthcare. This has been a bit of a coincidence. But now that I’ve worked in healthcare for a few years, my interest has grown. We’re doing something really important for society, and I really feel that I can make a difference for people in difficult situations.

 

What makes healthcare projects interesting from an architect’s perspective?

They’re just so complex, and there are so many issues and perspectives that you have to take into account. I work mostly with the early stages and strategic planning. This is the stage before the project comes to life, when we map all the needs that exist, the current buildings, and their condition. We also look at whether any activities require new premises and where they should be located. Based on this, we develop several options to then find the best solution for everyone. It’s like putting together a very complicated puzzle! We work very closely with the organisation and there are many perspectives to take into account. Although patients and their relatives are always at the centre of our work, hospitals are also a workplace, and we try to involve all professional groups in our projects.

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We have to know how a hospital works and how the different spaces are used, so I’m also learning a lot about healthcare (although I don’t especially want to know some of the details!)

What room is there for creativity?

There’s always the opportunity to try out different solutions and ideas in the early stages. White as a company is filled with knowledge and experience, and as a young architect it’s a real luxury to be able to work with all this close at hand. We have to know how a hospital works and how the different spaces are used, so I’m also learning a lot about healthcare (although I don’t especially want to know some of the details!). Hospital projects involve lots of rules and requirements that we have to stick to, but I feel that there’s always scope to work on the design. And I think that the soft values are something we often promote as well.

 

Do you feel your work makes a difference?

Absolutely. For example, White invests its own resources in following up on our projects. I once met a patient who was so pleased with their room, the light, and the colours. We’d fought hard to ensure that every patient would get their own room, so when I met this patient I really felt that our efforts had been worth it and that we’d done something important.

Get to know the people behind the architecture!

We are passionate about health-care architecture and the complexity it takes to shape the health-care environments of the future. Meet Rafel Crespo Solana och Jens Axelsson.

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