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Article and photo courtesy Harrington College of Design Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2010 Issue

Sara Sacra (AST ID1987), a Harrington College of Design Interior Design program alumna, is a talented interior design leader with over 20 years experience. Having worked for both architecture and interior design firms, Sara has built an extensive portfolio featuring a wide range of project types. As a young designer, her early positions with prominent firms like ISD were demanding and competitive workplaces where she received great exposure working alongside talented, creative and technical professionals like Gary Lee. Sara credits her Harrington instructor, Barbara Marks for demanding excellence by providing tough lessons that prepared her for the real world of presenting design to clients and thinking on her feet.

After 16 years in corporate/commercial design, Sara fell into the practice area of healthcare upon assignment of the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. Sara’s project research began by studying “evidence based design” which was proving that the environment where healthcare is given can profoundly affect the care giver, the patient family, and of course the patient’s outcome. Sara embraced the opportunity to employ these new design concepts into the cancer center project.

“Because of a variety of code restrictions and other health related requirements, innovation can be very challenging for the designer, who is sometimes exposed to very sobering realities that he/she might not otherwise face,” Sara shared. On the cancer center project, Sara worked with a focus group of patients who offered a solid understanding of their experiences with cancer treatment. This enabled the design team to make more informed decisions, which were essential in making the project personal and successful.

“Healthcare Design has changed dramatically in the past decade. Today healthcare is a competitive business and hospitals are vying for patients/customers. People are more selective today regarding where they want to deliver a baby, receive diagnostic tests, or undergo outpatient procedures. As more hospitals renovate or replace aging structures with new state of the art facilities, the healthcare design industry grows. Healthcare design combines all types of disciplines including food service, retail stores, public spaces, administrative offices and board rooms, as well as patient rooms, and requires designers who have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience,” Sara said.

Currently, Sara Sacra (AST ID 1987) is a Partner with Auer Design Associates, designing for commercial, corporate, healthcare, senior living and residential markets.

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