By John Jackson, AIA
As an architect, never did I imagine myself standing on a stage in Los Angeles giving speech in front of an international audience of MD/PHD’s anchored by two Nobel Laureates. Yet, earlier this June, there I was, presenting our ideas of interactive designed environments at the 30th Anniversary of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation – A Global Summit.
The Jeffery Modell Foundation
The story of the life, and sadly death, of a little boy named Jeffrey Modell from New York City 30 years ago, was at the root of this event. Jeffrey died of a Primary Immunodeficient Disease at the age of 15. Before he died his mom, Vicki, and Dad Fred, promised him they would work to find the causes and help ease the suffering of other kids with his condition. His years were spent in drab, scary medical spaces with ominous machines to treat his disease. To honor Jeffrey, they wanted to help create cures and an environment where kids could be defined not by their disease, but rather their possibilities. Today, great scientific advances have been made due the influence of the Jeffrey Modell Foundation.
Our Design Presentation
Before my turn to speak, the last speech of the conference, nearly 80 speeches had been given by the most brilliant minds from around the world on various disease processes. These amazing men and women broke the medical problems down to the molecular level, down to DNA, and offered past, present, and future solutions to this worldwide problem. My talk, in contrast, was undeniably simple, relatable and known, because it was about how we all engage the world we can see, inhabit, and touch. A world that has the power to affect our mood, behavior, and even how we view ourselves. The scientists dealt with the microscopic, but as the lone architect in the group I dealt with the macroscopic.
Focusing on this concept of environmental engagement, JGA designed a prototype for Jeffrey Modell Infusion Centers to usher in a new experience that immerses patients into an uplifting atmosphere as soon as they walk through the door. Playful architectural shapes and interactive spaces invite children to run into the clinic and engage in a variety of hands-on activities while they receive their medications via a mobile IV dosing system. A variety of technology rich and sophisticated spaces allow those children who are lifelong patients to mature into different but fitting environments, encouraging a community of those with Primary Immunodeficiency of all ages to interact and share their story.
JGA has been honored to be a part of promise keeping made to Jeffrey by designing a clinic for children, teens, and adults that would be encouraging, community based, and interactive. Presently, the design is a prototype. The first installment will find it’s home in Dallas, TX and will be staffed and run by Corinthian Health Services, the nation’s leader in Immune Globulin infusion therapies. We are hoping the DNA of this design can make its way into the designs of many such facilities around the U.S. and world to serve the needs of children who also have a story to tell, a game to play, and a star to reach for.
Thank you, Fred and Vicky, for keeping your promise of “Hope, Advocacy, and Action” to Jeffrey.