Medically Induced Apotheosis: Changing the Production and Consumption of Medicine

Student Project by Jade Bailey and Emma Sanson at Studio Hani Rashid in Vienna, Austria

Text description provided by designers

Through the advancement in health in history, we have seen the longevity of life exceed the limits—previously undreamt of—across the globe. However, with this increased life expectancy comes unprecedented pressure on healthcare systems. We may be living longer, but the amount of time that we have good health has not improved much—resulting in a great strain and dependency on the economy and society. This is an issue that needs to be addressed. The aim is to create a place of comfort and accessibility for health to become a social and independent priority, taking a preventative approach instead of an ‘act now’ system, creating a health-culture throughout the entirety of one’s life.

The design explores the extent to which architecture can play a role in preventing illness by encouraging habitual behaviour while aiming for transparency in the pharmaceutical industry; opening up the process of medicinal research and production to deploy more personalised medicine to a specific location.

The strategically located building is at the cross-section of 4 roads—accessible by its community, with the entrance having a constant flux of footfall. The design revolves around the future of urban pharmacy, proposing its expansion into open clinics for daily access. The partial permeability of the façade illustrates openness and honesty.

Medicine Cafes are juxtaposed and designed to exude transparency and openness to the community. Medicine farms and research labs localise the pharmaceutical structure, instigating a more efficient, affordable and accessible procedure and therefore making it more trustworthy—coinciding with a new age of health.

The project delves into the future of medicine; specifically, its research-method, production and more importantly, the knock-on effect of the consumption of medication, as a society. Today, it takes an intricate process, many trial-and-errors and an average of 10 years to get new medicine on the market with only a 12% success rate. Additionally – a newly released drug will be under a monopoly by the company that invested in its creation for another 15 years. Companies push the prices up and making them unavailable to many. Our building will house a process that will decrease this research and development time to 2-3 years, by going back to the roots of medicine.

The spaces are prescriptive to the users. They monitor and learn from live health data—transforming and adjusting to keep their community healthy. Bridging the characteristics of 4 different architectural paradigms, our future pharmacy aims to develop idiosyncrasy (mode of behaviour) that stands out and adds a biophilic element to an urban setting. By localising every aspect of the medical supply chain, our prototype aims to create accessibility, affordability and most importantly—a habit. Thus, in time, this intervention will improve the life-quality of its neighbourhood while also becoming an urban oasis where science and life intertwine.

The idea of Neuro-Architecture informs our spatial design. The prototype has taken on the qualities transparency, contrast and playfulness with light and shadow. The combination of artificial vs natural elements simulates the mind and create an inspiring space for researchers to work and patients to relax. The different growth phases of the plants allow the internal space to morph with the seasons and local medicine dependencies, therefore designed with the intent of a continual change. The assembled components enable users to dictate their own path, based on this the negative space becomes essential, similar to John Portman’s configured spaces, allowing light in and developing moments that instigate a break.