Functional Living Lab

MGH Institute of Health Professions
Completed: 2015
Boston, MA

The new Functional Living Lab at the MGH Institute of Health Professions opened to students in early 2015. Located in Charlestown, Massachusetts, this innovative, translational facility offers doctoral students in occupational therapy a smooth transition from the classroom to direct practice of real-life skills.

Students have lessons in an active learning classroom, and move directly into the lab containing a realistic mock kitchen / laundry, living room, bathroom, and bedroom. Activities of daily living therapies are practiced by students, and their work is captured using audio and video technology, intended to foster real-time analysis and improvement. The suite also contains a virtual reality lab serving its research component.

The design goal was to create a seamless flow between spaces with direct connections between the classroom and the simulation areas. Sliding clear glass doors between the classroom and kitchen area were chosen to maintain acoustical separation when closed yet allow direct viewing. The working fixtures and home-like furnishings were carefully selected to make the rooms feel as similar as possible to a typical domestic environment, while incorporating high technology in an unobtrusive manner.