The Hipster Hospital is an experiment in architectural design as a tool for generating discourse. Starting from the premise that architecture concretizes social relations, especially as it comes to medicine, in terms of the proper arrangement of bodies in the healing process, the Hipster Hospital marks a big departure from traditional hospital design.
Indeed, the Hospital looks nothing like a hospital. Considering square footage, only a fifth of the site is dedicated to biomedical healthcare, and even then only as spaces for individual physician clinics with attached doctor’s housing. The rest of the compound is composed of large communal spaces for public performances and farmer’s market, a gym and running track that circles the entire building, a two-level restaurant / club, and a shopping mall. The building suggests that health is pervasive in every facet of our lives, from the products we purchase to the movement of our bodies in space. Bricolaging these seemingly disparate elements suggests the incompleteness of the contemporary hospital; health starts not at the doctor’s office, it is a part of life itself.
The planar view can be read as an assembly of “health-modifying” spaces, from the weight room to the public piazza. Foucault’s biopower was particularly fundamental in the sense that contemporary lifeworlds, at least in the US, is based on the tenet of healthy living. Precisely what is “healthy,” however, is an ongoing conversation. This assemblage of spaces encourages interaction and conversation, returning individual agency and holism back to “health.”