Greek Architect Engineer Dr Evangelia Chrysikou received an honorary award for her research project on health care architecture entitled ‘From Normalisation Theory to a ‘Fit for Purpose’ Architecture for the Mentally Ill’ at this year’s Design & Health International Academy Awards at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on June 30, 2012, held during the 8th Design & Health World Congress & Exhibition.
Recognized as the world’s leading advocacy programme recognizing professional excellence in the research and practice of designing healthy built environments, the award presented to Dr Chrsikou is an important one in excellence for both her and her country.
The annual awards have a direct impact on shaping the international environmental design of structures of buildings and places promoting human health, well being and quality of life. The Academy is in the development of a series of global interdisciplinary research work groups / networks that aim to address and progress specific issues relating to the development of psycho-socially supportive environments and recognizing the innovative achievements of researchers, architects and professionals working in the health sector.
Dr Chrysikou received her award for creating a model on designing buildings that could contribute to the therapeutic procedures of the mentally ill. Her model is the first scientifically documented methodology revolving around the construction of psychiatric units and confounds the so far accepted theories and practices on designing mental institutions.
The implementation of Dr Chrysikou’s project could offer multiple benefits to clients, their families and the staff working in the psychiatric unit. Moreover, the health system is also favored, since the efficient, economic and effective use of resources is promoted, the overall running costs are considerably cut, the quality of the offered services and life and work quality are improved.
This particular distinction comes at a time when the international image of Greece has received serious negative blows. The award conveys a different side of the Greek scientific community, which despite its lack of funds has been competing next to major international foundations, such as the London Imperial College, the University of Sydney and the University of Oregon.
Dr Evangelia Chrysikou is Architect Engineer AUTH, with Ph.D. at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies UCL and MA in Health Care Buildings Planning Management and Design from MARU (Medical Architecture Research Unit). Her research is on buildings for mentally ill in the community. Her work was presented in medical and architectural conferences in Greece, the UK, Scotland, Singapore, Canada and the US. Since 2005 she owns the SynThesis Architects practice in Marousi. Synthesis deals with residential, restoration and special buildings including health care facilities, as well as research in Greece and abroad.
In 2009 SynΤhesis was Finalist for the “Mental Health Project Award” of the Design and Health International Awards for the day centre for autistic children in Faliro.