Empathetic Re-Design of the Ninewells Hospital Environment.


Design Team: Jessica Ross (Interior and Environmental Design), Kirsty Meechan (Interior and Environmental Design), Nadine Franz (Interior and Environmental Design), Katrina Steven (Product Design),  Katryna Callaghan (Product Design), Laura Geyer (Graphic Design), Sandhya Prem (Medical Student).

Ninewells Teaching Hospital is one of Scotland’s busiest hospitals with the concourse area being one of the largest footfalls for the city of Dundee. As a group we were tasked with re-imagining the experience of those thousands of people who pass through the hospital every day. We focused on the environment experienced by patients, carers, staff and students who have just been diagnosed with cancer. And also those who have just received bad news.

Below is a  summary of our research into the effects of cancer and the emotional journey  of the sufferer.


The current hospital environment is very 1970s and many wards struggle to cope with the increasing demand for beds and facilities. Talking to specialist nurse Lesley Taylor and ENT Surgeon Rodney Mountain we discovered the true extent of the problems with the lack of suitable space for patients.

Looking at existing spaces we liked the idea of bringing nature into the hospital to reduce the clinical appearance of the wards.inspo for new space

Below are experimental sketch models.

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We propose an intervention space which will provide a sanctuary for those struggling or coping with bad news within the hospital. The space is situated on a disused roof space which in turn would link the ENT clinic to the wards at the back of the hospital supporting chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Below is an experience map of the proposed space.

experience map

The space would provide an outdoor space for patients to use as a place for a private conversation or simply as an escape from the hospital environment. This reflection pavilion would allow users to cut through towards the back of the hospital without entering the main concourse. This gives more privacy to those grieving loved ones or those needing time away from the public eye.

Below are conceptual visual representations of our ideas.

ENT ward before change:EXISTING SPCE COLLAGEENT ward after change:NEW SPCE COLLAGE

App Design:

Patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer may feel overwhelmed and the clutter of the information pack they are presented with does not help. We have proposed a digital solution in the form of an app. On this app patients can see all their information clearly displayed on their phone. The app contains contact details to nurses and doctors in case of emergency, links to information about cancer, a calendar showing their appointments laid out clearly, progress tracker showing how far the patients have come in their treatment and a digital map of Ninewells guiding them to their appointments. This will allow patients to carry more information than contained in the pack on a simple app which both the patient and their family members can access with a log in.

We have also re packaged the information the patient receives on paper for those not willing or able to use the app efficiently.

Thanks to:  Maggies Centre, Ninewells Hospital, Lesley Taylor, Rodney Mountain and all patients that shared their experiences with us.