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Monday, April 20, 2020

Hospital Architecture

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Children, Orlando-Florida,
one of the most strikingly beautiful hospitals I've ever seen.
I've always considered myself to be, if not an expert, then quite knowledgeable about architecture. However, until this past week, I knew very little about hospitals. Just a few days ago I was released from the Cleveland Clinic and before that our local medium-size hospital. I won't go into any details as to why I was there, this is not the time or place for that. Suffice to say I have done some research into some of the more unique and attractive hospitals in the world. I began with Marietta (Ohio) Memorial Hospital (below) where I was their guest for about three days followed by about four days in one of the biggest hospitals in this country. Although there are many similarities, believe me not all hospitals were created equal.
Today, Marietta Memorial is attractive but with an architectural sameness found in most hospitals of its size around the country. The original structure (lower image) is still in use but has literally been swallowed up by numerous additions since its debut one hundred years ago.
I was born in the brick and stone structure you see just above back in 1945. Inside, this hospital is not quite as monotonous white on white with a touch of chrome that is the hallmark of most hospitals found today. There's a certain architectural flair of curved surfaces, stonework, a courtyard, and floor-to-ceiling glass all of which hides a virtual rat's maze of rambling rooms and corridors that is pretty much standard today. All this occurs in the name of comfort for the patients and efficiency for the staff. Although I've never been in a private hospital, I've yet to find one that wasn't understaffed and the medical professional weren't overworked. When I checked into Marietta Memorial, there was such a flu epidemic going around I spent about 36 hour in an area they called emergency overflow in a cold sterile basement. I had a tiny cubical all to myself with a shared bathroom. Worst of all though, my meals were all cold by the time they got to me. Upstairs, I had a semi-private room with a recliner.
Cleveland Clinic main entrance replete with fountain and reflective pool,
ranking the main structure very attractive.
I arrived at the Cleveland Clinic emergency room by ambulance about midnight. I was wheeled in on a gurney (I could have handled a wheelchair just as well), checked in, checked out, then taken to another semi-private room where their major concern was that I might fall on the way to the bathroom. The food was bland inasmuch as I was on a renal diet (salt free) but at least it wasn't cold. Fortunately I had my trusty laptop with me to while away the hours, though I also did a great deal of napping. I'm gifted in that I can drop off to sleep in less than a minute, which I did, again and again. I had so many blood tests my arms began to look like pin cushions. And, as in most hospitals today, my medications were meted out to me by computers. If I thought Marietta Memorial to be a maze, it was nothing compared to that in Cleveland rambling through no less than three buildings (or towers), each about eight stories tall on my way to a CAT scan. I left rested, well-informed, and anxious to get back home to my daily routine. My wife drove me home (three hours) through a pouring rain while I slept blissfully unaware of all my surroundings.
The Cleveland Clinic campus is something of a health care city within a city.
Hospitals are not places generally associated with pleasure. After all, most of us are usually only at one when we or a loved one are sick. Traditionally, they’re not nice to look at, either: we think of over-lit and sterile environments, with visual stimulation limited to small, wall-mounted televisions. However, a new generation of medical facilities is changing the face of the hospital, literally. These places take a more holistic approach to healthcare--one that takes the healing environment into consideration. As a result, many hospitals may be more welcoming and diverse than those with which many are familiar. And while patient care remains their primary objective, many have put almost equal care into their clients’ surroundings. The Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children (top) in Orlando, Florida, is one such institution. With its striking looks, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children, located in Orlando, Florida, seems at first glance to be something else entirely. It is in fact, as conceptualized to be more like a hotel. The structure is made up of dark glass-covered towers, which rise from a triangle-shaped base. Worldwide architects Jonathan Bailey Associates say that this arrangement makes access to resources easier, helps the movement of patients and staff to become more efficient, and simplifies monitoring of activities. The hospital was completed in 2006, and it is now a distinctive landmark on the Orlando skyline.
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago Illinois
In 2012 the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago opened its transformed campus after a radical redesign of the 175-year-old institution’s complex. The educational hospital now presents a sleek, up-to-date exterior to match the cutting-edge methods of care within its walls. The Chicago branch of global architects Perkins & Will worked closely with the hospital and its users during the center’s design stage in order to create an optimal working environment. Its environmentally friendly construction also means that Rush is the biggest newly built health facility in the world to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
Akershus University Hospital, Nordbyhagen, Norway
With Akershus University Hospital, Scandinavian firm Arkitektfirmaet C. F. Møller created a friendly, welcoming environment for patients and their families. Each section is given its own unique treatment, differentiating it from the others and providing varied visual stimulation. The hospital, located in Nordbyhagen, Norway, utilizes geothermal heating for most of its warming requirements. Sustainability was also a factor in the facility’s construction, and materials were locally sourced. The new hospital opened in 2008, although work continued on the emergency department until 2014. In 2009 it won the award for Best International Design in the Building Better Healthcare Awards.
Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children, Birmingham, Alabama
The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, Alabama is, in area, the third-biggest children’s hospital in America. Its shiny glass and white concrete façade is the work of global architectural firm HKS, Inc., which strove to make the facility a less frightening place for children than a traditional hospital would be. The interiors of the different levels are uniquely colored and easy to navigate, while windows provide both great views and natural lighting. The hospital, which opened in August 2012, is the first in Alabama to have won the LEED Silver certificate.
Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton, Pennsylvania
The Einstein Medical Center Montgomery is a non-profit hospital located in East Norriton, Pennsylvania. The New York branch of global architects Perkins & Will designed the state-of-the art development, which was the region’s only new medical center to be constructed in more than ten years. The hospital was built on an old golf course, and the architects successfully retained 30 acres of green space, with the large windows of the structure allowing for great views of the setting. These surroundings include footpaths for patients, staff and the public to enjoy. Construction, which was completed in September 2012, used plenty of recycled and local materials, and the hospital achieved a LEED Silver certificate rating in 2013.
Rey Juan Carlos Hospital, Madrid, Spain
The Rey Juan Carlos Hospital in Madrid, Spain is more sleek and space age than dull and depressing. Designed by local architects Rafael de La-Hoz and completed in March 2012, the institution is intended to be a true healing space filled with “harmony and light.” An abundance of light, silence and efficiency was the desired result for the building, and we’d argue that pleasing aesthetics, too, seem to be part of the finished article. The two ovals on top were created to be peaceful spaces, without the noise or bustle of long, straight corridors. Plus, the hospital features a green roof garden and views from each room.
CHA Women and Children Hospital, Seongnam, South Korea
In designing the CHA Women and Children’s Hospital in Seongnam, South Korea, KMD Architects created a facility that fits in perfectly with its well-to-do area. The U.S.-based firm came up with a shiny, modern structure that has one whole level housing an extended stay spa. The facility is softened on the inside by the inclusion of plants, wood and water features, while its roof is also an area of plants as well as wooden decking. The hospital, which was finished in 2006, is made up of four stories above ground and four floors below, making it bigger than it first appears. In 2008 it picked up the American Institute of Architects National Healthcare Design Award.
Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare, Tampa Florida
The Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare is part of the University of South Florida’s healthcare learning program. The Tampa branch of Alfonso Architects designed the facility, which includes MRI, CT, X-ray and women’s diagnostics units, plus a surgery area and more. The building itself is sleek looking, with simple lines and a plain color scheme creating a calm, clean effect. The center was completed in July 2008.
South Tower Expansion for Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills, California
The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in California is no newcomer to design elements that can aid treatment. The hospital – opened in 1962 and designed by well-known architect Edward Durell Stone – already incorporated features like plentiful natural light and links to the natural world. Global architectural firm HOK’s Los Angeles branch added an expansion to the hospital, which was completed in three stages between 2006 and 2010. The designers were mindful of blending in with the hospital’s original architecture and also of the regulations of the municipal area in which it is located.
Harlem Hospital, New York, NY
And finally,some of the hospitals look like works of art, and this one more than most. The $325 million, 195,000 square-foot Harlem Hospital Pavilion, which was designed by global architects HOK, includes giant glass panels on its façade to form striking transparent murals. The huge, eye-catching frontage consists of reproduced historical murals by African American artists. Moreover, at night the artwork becomes even more engaging as it lights up softly from inside. The pavilion links the Martin Luther King, Jr. Pavilion and the Ronald H. Brown Ambulatory Care Pavilion, and it was completed in September 2012.

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