ZGF Associate Austin Ferguson was recently named one of Healthcare Design Magazine’s 2019 Rising Stars. Austin is one of nine individuals who received this honor, which celebrates newcomers to healthcare design who are positioned to become the industry’s next great leaders. Read more in the November issue.
Austin’s relationship to healthcare design began with spending extended periods of time in hospitals and clinics as his father fought and received treatment for colon cancer. Following his father’s passing, Austin transformed an initial aversion to healthcare facilities into an empathetic connection to patients and families. He became driven by a desire to improve their experiences of healthcare environments through planning and design.
In both his academic and professional careers, Austin has focused on the integration of forward-thinking healthcare design and technical resolution. As a master’s student at Clemson University’s Architecture + Health program, his design for a long-term acute care hospital was awarded a Healthcare Environment Award in the student category as well as top comprehensive graduate project in Clemson’s School of Architecture. He also received a Healthcare Environment Award honorable mention for his design of an integrative cancer center that incorporated clinical cancer treatment with alternative medicines for symptom management. Additionally, Austin participated in a $4,000,000, multi-year research project funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study improvements to patient outcomes through the design of an operating room and surgical suite.
Austin is now a licensed architect with an Evidence-Based Design Accreditation & Certification (EDAC). In his architectural practice, he is dedicated to advancing the detailing and constructability of healthcare spaces. Austin has honed his expertise through a range of projects for University Health System (UHS), NYU Langone Health, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, among other clients. He is also part of ZGF’s firm-wide healthcare core group initiative, through which he furthers the firm’s understanding of evolving care models and changing healthcare practices, determines strategic new work, and applies benchmarking.
In his HCD interview, Austin discusses the project contribution he’s most proud of, how the flexibility and adaptability of healthcare spaces has become an industry challenge, and opportunities he sees for addressing this issue.