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Architecture Critic Takes On Dallas' Newest Hospitals

Lauren Silverman
The front lobby at Parkland Women's and Infants' Specialty Health unit (WISH).

In Dallas, the $800 million Clements University Hospital opened to patients in December. Later this summer, the $1.3 billion dollar Parkland Memorial Hospital will open. Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster says despite their high-tech gadgets, both hospitals are lacking the human touch. 

On Why Hospital Design Matters: 

“I think the hospital is a place most all of us end up at some point in our lives. It’s when we are at our absolutely most vulnerable, and those spaces need to be as generous and as accommodating as they can be. Too often they’re not. Sometimes it’s for financial reasons, and sometimes carelessness, or sometimes it’s just because of convention.” 

On The Design Strengths:

“They’re both trying the best they can to introduce light and the natural environment into their, especially they’re public spaces. And every room in both hospitals is a private room. That’s pretty spectacular.”

 On The Art Selection:

“Clements has spent a great deal of money and time and effort in choosing an art program, largely abstract works they hope will sooth patients there and also visitors. I think that runs in contrast with Parkland. I think one of the problems I had with parkland is in an effort to be a good citizen they’ve engaged these citizen work groups to help choose colors an interior designs. And anytime you do that you’re in danger of group think and choice by committee. And I think you’re almost always better by letting professionals make those decision. So where you could have bold decisions you end up with the usual beiges.”

Check out the full interactive in the Dallas Morning News. 

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.