The Waiting Room establishes a gathering point for a medical complex previously without a center. Like other hospitals founded in the 19th century, Policlinico Umberto 1 was planned in a decentralized manner with specialties housed in separate structures distributed throughout the campus: pediatrics in one building, the treatment of respiratory diseases in another, and so on, with no social center of gravity. Located in the middle of the hospital grounds, The Waiting Room attracts patients, patients’ families and hospital staff from all parts of the facility.
The mix of people, activity and stimulation aims to thwart the inward feeling of inertia that is triggered when having to wait. The anxiety of waiting is compounded when it occurs at a hospital since the consequences there are often greater: there is a heightened feeling of anticipation when it is to learn the outcome of one’s lab results, or of a diagnosis, or the prognosis of an ailing loved one; it is more emotionally taxing when it is to receive one in an ongoing series of treatments; and it is far more trying when it is to await a clean bill of health after being hospitalized for a long period of time. The Waiting Room tries to create an environment to cope with these anxieties if not through easing the irritation of having to wait, then at least through distraction from it.
Sustainable technologies are applied throughout, including a PV panel array that harnesses energy to power the artificial lighting and audio-visual equipment.
Design: Jeffrey Inaba, Ben Konen, Ayaka Matsushita, Ai Kawamura
Photography: Iwan Baan, Guilio Sarchilola