Why I Became a Healthcare Architect

Future Past & Present sign in the sky

As for most seniors in high school, deciding which college to attend was one of the hardest life decisions I had to make up to that point. I knew very little about what type of college I wanted to attend (city/rural, small/large), but I was certain that I wanted to study architecture. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, my experiences and travels were restricted to the Northeast, which made my decision to attend Tulane University in New Orleans pretty extreme at the time.

Not knowing the impact that this decision would have on my life, I decided that college would be my one chance to give myself an entirely new experience in an entirely new city. This opportunity allowed me to experience the revival of New Orleans following the devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina. I was not just able to witness the complete rejuvenation of this city; I was able to be a part of it. Tulane University has given me many opportunities to help in the rebuilding of this iconic city, an experience which no other school could have offered.

Even though Tulane offers so much hands-on experience in the architecture field, the University also requires their students to complete multiple summer internships. For the summers I traveled back home (to appease my mother) and began interning at Array. Through my two summers of interning with this firm, I have learned many things about healthcare design, sustainable strategies and an overall understanding of architectural and interior design focus. I am currently preparing for my fifth and final year of architecture school, where I’ll spend the majority of my time researching and designing an architectural thesis.

All of the experiences I have had over the past four years have given me an understanding of the architectural reconstruction of New Orleans and experience in the field of healthcare design. Though I have not fully committed to a final proposal to research for my thesis, all of my combined experiences have led me to the possibility of redesigning the existing Charity Hospital building, which had been shut down since Hurricane Katrina from being a working, sustainable and affordable healthcare center in the New Orleans Hospital District. This trend of adaptive re-use is going to become increasingly important as the architecture field moves from a field of new construction design to one of renovation projects in the already built environment.