The Dominion Post  

WVU researcher leads study thanks to hospital architecture grant

Created on:   Sat, Mar 3, 2018   12:25 PM

Last modified:   Sat, Mar 3, 2018   12:25 PM

Submitted to The Dominion Post

With support from a research grant from the Academy of Architecture for Health Foundation, a WVU researcher is leading a study that will help address the functional complexity of large hospitals.

Shan Jiang, assistant professor of landscape architecture in the School of Design and Community Development, and her research team will use immersive virtual reality technologies to conduct a study focused primarily on hospital wayfinding.

“The functional complexity of large hospitals can often lead to spatial disorientation and wayfinding difficulties for its patients, often exacerbating a situation that is already anxiety-producing,” Jiang said. “Visual engagement with nature, which has been proven therapeutic, has been hypothesized as playing the roles of wayfinding cues and facilitating spatial cognition in healthcare complexes.”

Jiang will collaborate with two consultants from Clemson University — Davis Allison, professor and director, and Andrew Duchowski, professor — as they examine the design of hospital circulation spaces with transparent connections and views in relation to individuals’ spatial orientation and wayfinding performances. Additionally, they will explore the individual’s environmental experience of visual engagement with nature in hospital circulation spaces, as well as the use of immersive virtual environment technologies as complementary methods and tools in healthcare design research.

The study participants will complete various wayfinding tasks in fully immersive virtual hospital environments.