“A critical element of the plan was gaining an understanding of the medical role of the original interior colors,” writes Katie Underwood, assistant director of the Getty Foundation, which contributed to Paimio’s conservation efforts. “Every chromatic element was intentional—from red pipes to denote heating elements to calming green ceilings that would dominate the visual field of patients confined to bed rest.”

Walking through the recently restored facility, one can’t help but wonder how the template for public medical facilities has become so bland. Think of all the droll waiting rooms, intimidating diagnostic facilities, or depressing dialysis centers designed with a haphazard, makeshift aesthetic we’ve come to accept as the standard. Paimio, which now serves as a child rehab center, is a vital monument to the idea that the purposeful planning of a hospital—or any type of environment for that matter—impacts our health and longevity in a very direct way.

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