What's the ideal hospital room? Renowned architect thinks he has answer

Michael Graves uses his hospital experience to improve hospital room design

Renowned American architect Michael Graves has launched a hospital furniture line after spending months in eight different rooms that he says were rife with inefficiencies.

In 2003, Graves—one of the most world's most revered living architects—developed a rare sinus infection that spread to his spine and left him paralyzed. Physicians do not know the cause of the infection, which has severely debilitated at least four other people in the United States. Graves spent months at eight different hospitals and three rehabilitation centers adapting to life in a wheelchair.

During his time in the health care facilities, Graves noticed that inefficiencies and poor hospital design hampered his recovery. Although "[t]hey didn't make big mistakes," he says, "[t]hey just made the most frustrating mistakes you could ever imagine and made your cure more difficult."

For example, Graves says he was unable to reach the sink faucet or electrical outlets in the bathroom of one of his rooms while seated in his wheelchair. He says depending on others to maneuver the space undermined "the self empowerment that I was supposedly gaining during the day in rehabilitation."

To increase patient mobility, Graves began sketching new designs for hospital furniture, rooms, and buildings. He then partnered with Stryker, a hospital furnishing company, to began launching a new line of products in 2009. For example, Graves has designed chairs with larger handles to give patients the leverage they need to stand up. He also has designed a bedside cabinet with two-way drawers and rounded-edges (Park, CNN, 12/15).

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