Vol 6, No 3 (2015) > Architecture >

Visibility Analysis of Hospital Inpatient Ward

Mikhael Johanes, Paramita Atmodiwirjo



The objective of this study is to evaluate the
performance of hospital inpatient ward spatial configuration in relation to
visibility. Visibility is an important aspect in a hospital inpatient ward, and
could support healthcare performance. Visibility is required in an inpatient
ward for the purposes of control, surveillance, interaction and communication
among patients and nurses, and it could be affected by the spatial
configuration of the ward. Based on isovist as a way to visualize the visual
experience in surrounding environments, we developed an analytical tool to
evaluate the visibility of an inpatient ward in a planned university teaching
hospital. The findings illustrate the visibility as experienced by the users in
the everyday operation of the hospital ward. Some recommendations for
improvement were suggested to the existing spatial configuration for better

Keywords: Inpatient ward; Isovist; Spatial configuration; Visibility

Full PDF Download


Benedikt, M.L., 1979. To Take Hold of Space: Isovists and Isovist Fields. Environment and Planning B, Volume 7, pp. 47-65

Cai, H., Zimring, C., 2012. Out of Sight, Out of Reach: Correlating Spatial Metrics of Nurse Station Typology with Nurses’ Communication and Co‐awareness in an Intensive Care Unit. In: Proceedings of the Eighth International Space Syntax Symposium 2012, Santiago de Chile, pp. 8039.1-16

Derix, C., 2014. The Space of People in Computation. in: Derix, C., Izaki, A., (Eds.), Emphatic Space: The Computation of Human-centric Architecture, Academy Press, London, pp. 14-23

Gibson, J.J., 2015. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, Psychology Press, New York.

Gurascio-Howard, L., Malloch, K., 2007. Centralized and Decentralized Nurse Station Design: An Examination of Caregiver Communication, Work Activities, and Technology. Health Environments Research & Design, Volume 1(1), pp. 44-57

Harvey, Jr., T.E., Pati, D., 2012. Keeping Watch: Design Features to Aid Patient and Staff Visibility. Available at: http://www.hfmmagazine.com/. Accessed on June 20th 2015

Harvey, Jr., T.E., Pati, D., Evans, J., Waggener, L.T., Cason, C.L., 2006. Inpatient Unit Design: Defining the Design Characteristic of a Successful Adaptable Unit, AIA Report on University Research

Hendrich, A., Chow, M.P., Skierczynski, B.A., Zhenqiang, L., 2008. A 36-hospital Time and Motion Study: How Do Medical-surgical Nurses Spend their Time?. The Permanente Journal, Volume 12(3), pp. 25-34

Hughes, R., 2000. The Matchbox on a Muffin: The Design of Hospitals in the Early NHS. Medical History, Volume 44, pp. 21-56

Lu, L., Zimring, C., 2010. Developing a Visibility Index for Nursing Units. Policy & the Environment, Volume June, pp. 51-57

Reiling, J., Hughes, R.G., Murphy, M.R., 2008. The Impact of Facility Design on Patient Safety, in: Hughes, R.G (Ed.), Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-based Handbook for Nurses, Volume 2, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, pp. 167-192

Turner, A., Doxa, A., O’Sullivan, D., Penn, A., 2001. From Isovist to Visibility Graphs: A Methodology for the Analysis of Architectural Space. Environment and Planning B, Volume 28, pp. 103-201

Trzpuc, S.J., Martin, C.S., 2010. Nursing Units and Communication: Considering the Built Environment’s Impact on Social Support and Job Satisfaction, BWBR knowledge series, August

Ulrich, R.S., Zimring, C., Zhu, X., DuBose, J., Seo., H., Choi, Y., Quan, X., Joshep, A., 2008. A Review of the Research Literature on Evidence-based Healthcare Design. Health Environments Research & Design, Volume 1(4), pp. 61-125

Van Wijk, J.J., 2005. The Value of Visualization. Visualization, 2005. VIS 05. IEEE, pp. 79-86