DRU+ is a design research collective combining scientific rigour, cultural insight and design thinking to create innovative solutions in health care, culture and sustainability.
Our story began in 2021, when along with our partners at Ab Rogers Design we assembled a group of diverse minds – including doctors, nurses, patients, artists, architects, engineers, landscape designers and economists – to tackle the question posed by the Wolfson Economics Prize:
How would you design and plan new hospitals to radically improve patient experiences, clinical outcomes, staff wellbeing, and integration with wider health and social care?
Our team won the prize with our proposal for a Living Systems Health Centre dedicated to health creation and to putting the human at the heart of the hospital experience. This vision hinges on the idea of the building becoming an active part of the healing process, facilitating nurturing interactions, anticipating the needs of its occupants and supporting them at their most vulnerable. In this way, the building becomes a kind of ‘third carer’ alongside a patient’s medical team, and their family and friends.
DRU+ is named after the Design Research Unit of post-war Britain. The first modern design consultancy in the country, DRU was formed with the goal of bringing architects and designers together with artists, scientists and writers in service of the public good. DRU’s iconic designs have shaped the institutions they served for nearly a century. DRU+ is an homage to that spirit of collective intelligence and social service.
Inspired by the DRU’s progressive ambitions and founded in the spirit of post-pandemic restoration – in the same way that DRU was founded in the spirit of post-WWII reconstruction – DRU+ combines scientific, creative and civic forms of research to develop biocentric design innovation and deliver holistic solutions to urgent societal issues. The unit is informed by diverse, cross-sector learning and experience, reflecting the value of collective intelligence. We believe that by combining transdisciplinary research with empirical testing and real-world expertise, we can help transform healthcare, culture and sustainability.
We work across, between and despite disciplinary boundaries, asking difficult questions that empower our clients to imagine a fairer, bolder future.
Explore our Video, Audio and Text archives containing DRU+ research and related material, free to stream or download.