Mock-ups in Healthcare Design

Explore the different types of mock-ups, the advantages, and disadvantages of the mock-up types, how to stage them, how to use them, and how to apply the information into the design.


In healthcare, more than in other building types, the flow of functions is essential to an efficient, ergonomic and lifesaving spaces. Mockups are used extensively for improving the design of healthcare facilities. The mockup enables the user of the future space to experience and modify the design in full scale representation. Mockups range from basic layout of a room outline taped on a floor with equipment and furniture located within it to full scale cardboard constructed ones. At times, a fully constructed mockup is built to test conditions (acoustics, light, etc.) within an actual space.


Virtual reality has long been used to visualize a space. We currently see virtual reality environments that are adaptable to modifications on the spot, thus allowing them to be used for mockups.


The element that makes mockups most valuable is the ability of the staff to run real life scenarios through simulations. Simulations allows the design team to observe the staff functioning in the space. The layout of the space, such as adjusting walls, doors, or location of equipment, is modified during and after the simulation. The simulation also enables the staff to understand the parameters of the design: the space available and immovable elements (shafts, columns, etc.) and help the design team to best adapt the space to the functions it is intended to serve.


Learning objectives

  • Understand the various alternative mockup techniques, the advantages, and disadvantages of each.
  • What space is necessary to set up a mockup? How to set a mockup, by technique.
  • Know how to Organize the review of the mockup. Understand the difference between review and simulation of a mockup.
  • Learn how the outcome of a mockup is applied to the design.
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