In this "scavenger hunt," navigate your way through a hospital in search of target destinations.  Observe the surrounding architecture and design elements of these various hospital locations.


-     Students will locate key features of the hospital to become familiarized with a hospital setting.

-     Students will be better able to relate to a patient or family member trying to navigate to new locations in the hospital.

-     Students will be observant of their surroundings (architecture, color, art work, decor, etc), and speculate how this might influence behavior or mood.


Any local large hospital.

Recommended Preparatory Reading:

Whole Building Design Guide - Hospital

9 ways Northwestern Memorial Hospital's design was ahead of its time.


About an Hour

Appropriate For: 

Any student with an interest in a health field career.

Activity Description:

1) Arrive at the local hospital. Try to navigate to the following locations within the hospital:

- Emergency Room

- Pediatrics

- Pharmacy

- Cafeteria


- Surgery Check in Area

- Surgery Waiting Area

- Gift Shop

Note: If you are unable to locate one of the above locations, make your way to the information desk. You may ask for a map or, if not available, for directions to find the remaining destinations.

2) While navigating the hospital, take note of the environment (architectural features, color design, lighting, etc.)  and how it changes throughout different sections of the hospital.

3) Write down your observations in a notebook. Take time to analyze your observations. Consider questions such as the following.

- How did you feel in the various destinations?  

- What design elements contributed to your favorite destination from the list above? 

- How did color choices change based on the nature of the location?

- What design choices might make the cafeteria and gift shop more inviting than other areas of the facility? 

4) Reflect upon your observations and analysis. Write down your reflection along with additional insight. This could, for example, be written in a personal journal entry format. As you do so, consider the following points.

Knowing what you do now, how are you better prepared to help others feel comfortable in a large hospital such as the one you have navigated?

- Now with the knowledge of how design elements impact functionality, what are some elements you could see yourself implementing in a future private practice location.

- What advantages do you have now that you are more familiar with your local institution? 

Author: Ross Owens & Max Scalf


Carr, Robert F. "Hospital." Whole Building Design Guide. The National Institute of Building Sciences21 April 2011. Web. 14 April 2016.

Morgan, Jamie. "9 ways Northwestern Memorial Hospital's design was ahead of its time.Health Facilities Management. American Hospital Association.  21 March 2016. Web. 14 April 2016.