Diabetes and Design

Hi everyone! I was hoping maybe some of you could help me out.

I am in my 4th year of studies as an interior design student. I have also been a Type 1 diabetic for 8 years now. Diabetes is a huge part of who I am, and im a huge advocate for diabetes education. Final project: thesis (year long project) I have decided to design an endocrine centre - with a focus on diabetes. I have to design a 20,000 square foot facility.

I was just looking for some input, maybe design ideas as well? I have to do a research compentent, which im kind of at a loss for.

Anyways, I’m in the early stages of planning. But this is what i was thinking my hypothetical center would feature:

  • A demo kitchen: learning how to make diabetic friendly meals (low carbs, etc)
  • a Gym
  • a group meeting space
  • individual counselling spaces
  • lounge
  • There will also be a clinical element to this centre as well.

I guess what im trying to ask is, if there was something like this in your community, what would you like to see inside? I want this to be a space for everyone, just like this site, for family, friends and people living with diabetes. This space is for all ages, all ethnicies, etc. I’m really open to any suggestions or critisim. Any help would be awesome!


I think it’s great you are studying architecture and have chosen something you care about. I happen to be a design engineer - I design research laboratory facilities, and manufacturing/factories for a living. I have 20+ years experience with creating these spaces and I remind all my architectural friends to make sure they leave room for the mechanical! for a facility such as you describe I would ask for 15% of your gross area to be used as mechanical space, and enough room between walls and above the finished ceiling so that the building could work as well as look nice.

potential concepts for additional spaces (these are in no particular order)

  • resource area for learning, this could be technology such as CGM, insulin pumps, blood sugar meters this might be interactive with actual devices, or a demonstration/computer/video viewing, or even books and literature this could also be a vendor area where reps could set up booths and displays to show the latest

  • a museum of scary, only because it amuses me, you wouldn’t believe what we used for early diabetes care and what it looked like. sometimes looking at the first auto lance or blood sugar meter makes me feel more appreciative about what I have today. I really enjoy when I get to put in some kind of display area in one of my factories, and especially in a new technology facility, which becomes an area that pays homage to where the technology came from and the work and sacrifices of those people and even research, etc., that came before the modern or current model.

good luck on your design. if you need a peer review partner please reach out.


I love this idea! I’ve never heard of anything like this. One thing I think would be beneficial would be a social aspect to connect with other diabetics. A space for game nights and such. Also a play area for kids with diabetes. For me my diabetes made me feel like an outsider when I was young and meeting other diabetics my age has always been comforting for me.

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Hi, Joe!
Thank you so much for your reply!

I love your ideas, the museum idea is actually a really interesting concept, and the more I think about it, the more I love the idea of a space like that. You made some really great points, and Im going to take them all into consideration!
I’ll definitely reach out when I get into space planning, I would love to hear what someone with industry experience thinks! :relaxed:

Thats the basis of this facility! I really want a place for people to connect, my concept is acually “Bridging”. not only would a medical and a community centre type of facility be coming together, but the facility would be connecting people like a bridge!

As part of my deisgn, I’d like to see a group space, kind of like those seen on TV for “AA” meetings, i feel like that would be a good multipurpose space, for games. As well, ive proposed an interior courtyard for people to sit and/or congregate, but a play space in that area would be a great idea too!

Thank you for your reply!! :slight_smile: