Robin Guenther (1954-2023)

New York

It was during a drive with her parents through downtown Detroit in 1962 that Robin realized architecture was her calling.  She was just eight years old, but something about the buildings she saw made her want to grow up to design her own. What she didn’t know then is that she would design some of the most important healthcare buildings of modern times.  

Born and raised in the Motor City, Robin always had a drive to do the extraordinary. This yearning to be bold—to dare to challenge the status quo—is what fueled her passion for healthcare architecture. By the late ‘90s, her relentless advocacy for the use of healthy materials and her dedication to sustainability ignited a global movement. Today, hospitals around the world have been transformed from bastions of “sick care” to beacons of health. And the trend continues. We have Robin to credit for that.  

She loved to garden and cook—the more complex the recipe, the better.  

“There are only two choices: we either believe we create the future through every decision we make, or we believe the future is determined and our job is simply to keep on the path. I’m dedicated to the first choice.”  
A Head Start in Healthcare

As a teenager, Robin had an after-school job that finished late at night. To avoid walking home alone, she would go straight to the nearby Detroit General Hospital, where her sister was a nurse in the ER. The deal was this: Every night, Robin’s sister would drive Robin back home when her ER shift was up, but while waiting, Robin would have to finish her homework in the ER staff lounge, or volunteer around the hospital. Many years later, when Robin took her first real job at a healthcare design firm, her colleagues were amazed by her vast knowledge of how hospitals operate—especially emergency departments!

Robin’s TED Talk explores uncommon connections between health and environmental design. TEDMED July, 2015.
Fun Fact About Robin  
When Robin first moved to New York City in 1979, she lived for a month in the famous Barbizon Hotel for Women on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  
Along with Gail Vittori, Robin quite literally wrote the book on sustainable healthcare architecture. Now in its second edition, the book’s message continues to drive the industry’s green building mission by injecting critical responsiveness to improving human health.

Robin's Featured Work

Interior Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Palo Alto, California
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth Ambulatory Care Center
Middletown, New Jersey