September 26, 2020
Growing up in Brazil, one of Tatiana Guimaraes’ earliest childhood hobbies was sketching floor plans. The daughter of a cardiologist, she would go on to study architecture at Clemson University with a concentration in health. Instilled with her father’s ethos of service, Guimaraes says, “I never wanted to be a caregiver, but I wanted to help people. I merged architecture with my interest in medicine.”
In Miami as associate principal at Perkins & Will, her functional and soothing designs have touched nearly every medical system in the city, including Baptist Health, University of Miami Health, Jackson Health System and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and extends to innovative projects across the state and country, as well as in her native Brazil and throughout the Caribbean.
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A SPACE TO HEAL
Working within the complex rigors of medical facilities, which must adhere to strict codes and operations, Guimaraes’ approach to design begins with the people inside these spaces—patients, families, doctors and nurses. “What can we do as designers to impact people and make them feel at ease?” Guimaraes asks, acknowledging that people are often riddled with stress, anxiety or fear when they’re at the hospital. “How can we create environments that are soothing, healing and welcoming?”
Of the design elements that go into a medical facility, from durable materials to calming color palettes and intuitive wayfinding, Guimaraes counts optimizing natural light as a critical element. “It’s the most important thing for any building, but it makes a huge difference for patients,” says Guimaraes. “If you’ve been in surgery all day, when you come out, you want to know what time of day it is, what the weather is.”
Nicknamed “the garden building,” one of Guimaraes’ favorite projects is Palomar Medical Center Escondido in San Diego, designed with floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies and two sprawling rooftop gardens that penetrate the building and provide both outdoor space and beautiful views from inside diagnostic and imaging labs. She applied these same principles in designing the new Baptist Health Miami Beach, an uber-contemporary, floating-glass rectangular building on Alton Road with a cantilevered concrete frame and a rooftop deck and garden for yoga and wellness activities.
BEST LAID PLANS
In South Florida, architects have already been designing resilient buildings with sea-level rise and climate change in mind, and with the world gripped by a pandemic, Guimaraes foresees a new set of challenges and opportunities for architects. While the aesthetics of hospitality design has transferred to hospitals, the technology, infection control and flexibility of medical facilities are beginning to extend into all areas of design, from events to offices, schools and residences.
To this end, Perkins & Will has designed a medical center, health club and spa within downtown’s forthcoming Legacy Hotel and Residences, whose entire tower is envisioned as a luxurious safe haven with future pandemics in mind, boasting sterile air systems; touchless, voice-activated accessibility; and UV light robotic sterilization.
For Guimaraes, her inspiration continues to be drafting comfort in difficult times. “Knowing you’re helping people, having an impact, even if it’s small, making their experience less painful—all of this adds up.”