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HEALTHCARE ARCHITECTURE


category, we distinguish semi-fixed limits - such as equipment that can be moved to another place – and ‘personal’, referring to the distance between people. Perceptual limits are those that allow us


to perceive the world through the senses. However, beyond the five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch) we cannot ignore that our body has more than thirty senses. Theme that we will not develop this time but that we cannot fail to appreciate. The psychological limits are those that


we discover when we study how our brain works, in its first three basic rules: the success of the survival of the species, the success of procreating the species, and the success of caring for the young until they can fend for themselves. Nor can we fail to mention the Triune brain theory proposed by neuroscientist Paul MacLean in the 1960s that attempted to explain the ‘traces of evolution’ existing in the human brain. We all know that we perceive the world


differently, and these perceptions generate dissimilar memories, images, emotions and feelings in our minds. That is why a psychological limit is included in our proposal. The fourth limit we studied is the sociocultural one, which gives us rules, customs, beliefs and behaviours according to ethnicity, age, sex, religion and so on. The sociocultural limit conditions us to see the world in our own and original way. By understanding these four large


groups, we set out to measure our environment. Physical limits are measurable with a tape measure, and we take them into account, for example, through ergonomics, i.e. the relationship of objects and man. But how can we measure a psychological space, a perceptual or a sociocultural one? Our experience has shown us that these limits, which are often difficult to observe, can be measured by proxemics.


Engineering of the mind Each culture has different needs, which means that its physical environment must be different, because its perceptions of the world are different. So, proxemic needs are transformed into organic responses, and since the latter can modify the former, a permanent dynamic is generated until reaching a balance.


ERGONOMICS


Physical Limits


Psychological Limits


Perceptual Limits


clearly, since the blood from the brain would flow from the frontal part to the cerebellum to maintain balance when fleeing. The immune system, which consumes 20 per cent of our body’s energy, would be altered since it would not need to take care of a virus, but of the lion! We would begin to perspire in case of being caught and our skin would bristle, which for evolutionary reasons makes us appear bigger.


Sociocultural Limits


PROXEMICS


Four factors that can in turn affect each other according to the characteristics of the limits.


Such circumstances have led us to


conclude that the security protocols that apply to prevent contagion and spread of pathogens are general globalised rules, but that they inevitably vary in quantity and depth according to countries, regions, continents, climates, economic and health situations, education and so on. Therefore, we can say these rules become sociocultural, thus affecting the physical, psychological and perceptual limits. Today, global health protocols state that when there is detection of an infected person, they should be immediately transferred to a care centre. During this entire process, be it recovery or death, the family cannot see or perhaps avoid the contagion. A critical situation generates panic and fear. Fear leads to stress, and stress affects our defense system: the immune system. For millions of years, the human mind has used stress as a defence mechanism and achieve humanity’s ultimate objective, survival. Similarly, animals in dangerous situations, such as the threat of attack by a predator, have a ‘flight or fight’ mechanism. What would happen to us in a similar


situation? Let us imagine that we are going to be attacked by a lion. Our brain would give the order to the body to send the greatest amount of blood to our arms and legs and to close blood vessels so that, in the event of an injury, blood loss is reduced. It would be difficult for us to think


How can we measure a psychological space, a perceptual or a sociocultural one? Our experience has shown us that these limits, which are often difficult to observe, can be measured by proxemics


IFHE DIGEST 2021


Modern man does not often have to deal with a chasing lion, but the fear of losing our life due to a virus for which there is still no cure, activates the alarm signal in our brain to ‘warn’ our billions of cells that we are in danger. As before, stress comes to our aid. Our immune system shuts down so that our energy goes to our limbs to flee, further facilitating the effect of a virus that enters our unprotected cells. What would happen if we modified


the physical limits of space to perceive a different world? Let us think about situations in which, without neglecting the seriousness and care of the necessary actions to prevent the contagion and spread of the threatening virus, allow us the possibility of seeing the smile of a nurse or a family member. Situations that make us feel safe and content. Think of the emotions of relief,


reassurance, and confidence, which also heal. General protocols for the same level of risk are not effective. Being admitted to a hospital or an inflatable tent, even with the same technology, is not the same for the psyche of a patient.


Conclusion Proxemics are considered as a design tool that provides a spatial conception that goes beyond the physical –walls, floors, ceilings, buildings etc. – since it allows the perception of space through psychological, perceptual and sociocultural limits. Biosafety for its part, provides us with the necessary guidelines to detect and minimise health risks that may arise in a space, in an activity or in a specific behaviour. We are a fragmented whole for the purpose of being studied, but we continue to give answers that are worthy of being analysed in a comprehensive way. Adapting spaces to reduce risks is also possible from the point of view of harnessing proxemics and biosafety in a synergistic, interdisciplinary way, with the contribution of architecture, engineering, industrial design, social sciences, and medicine, for the sake of health.


References 1 World Health Organization. Laboratory Biosafety Manual - Third Edition, 2004. https://www.who.int/csr/resources/ publications/biosafety/WHO_CDS_CSR_ LYO_2004_11/en.


2 Hall ET. The Hidden Dimension, 1966. 109


IFHE


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