The Third Carer

In 2021, Ab Rogers Design studio won the Wolfson Economics Prize prize with their proposal for a Living Systems Health Centre dedicated to health creation and 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 medical staff and a patient’s support networks.

This publication presents the research and development of the Living Systems proposal in detail, including panel discussions with healthcare experts and patients, architectural and zoning plans, a breakdown of the health centre’s economic model, and a ‘third carer’ manifesto.

As the world emerges from the pandemic, the future of the UK’s healthcare service and its hospitals is a particularly pressing concern. Ab Rogers Design studio’s proposal utilises the power of design to prioritise the art of care, ensuring our healthcare spaces are worthy of the extraordinary people who work within them. 

‘The hospital of the future will be an active agent of societal change. It will foster health creation and wellbeing as much as it cares for broken bodies. It will be a human-centred environment, informed by collective intelligence, powered by a circular economy, and designed to deliver overlapping activities, nurturing all who use it – whether patients, nurses, doctors, visitors, porters, cleaners, or administrators.

‘The Living Systems Health Centre is fit for purpose, flexible, future-proof, and able to respond to the changing needs of its users. It embraces the communities that surround it as well as those contained within it. It upholds a preventative, wraparound approach to health that seeks to break down barriers, empower individuals, and champion prevention as well as cure.’

– Ab Rogers