Tag Archives: Healthcare Design

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University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center: A Study in Architectural Branding

University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center Front Exterior

Perspectus Architecture has a long-standing history serving University Hospitals on a variety of projects for the health system’s inpatient and outpatient facilities. Recently, University Hospitals selected the Perspectus Architecture team to serve as Architect of Record and design a new Health Center located on Lorain Road in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The 50,300 square-foot LEED Certified facility opened in June of 2018.

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Project Rendering: University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center NE Corner
Rendering prepared by CBLH Design
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Actual: University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center NE Corner – Completed

A major part of the new health center’s design process involved assisting University Hospitals in defining and maintaining consistency with its brand for community hospitals and health centers. The design team focused on developing a design that is distinctly of University Hospitals.

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University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center Main Lobby
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University Hospitals North Ridgeville Health Center 2nd Floor Waiting Room

Documenting existing design consistencies

Our architectural team field-documented existing facilities in four locations (Chagrin-Highlands Health Center, Concord Health Center, Twinsburg Health Center and Broadview Heights Health Center), creating a comprehensive case study of consistencies that reinforce an underlying architectural brand to use for the North Ridgeville facility and as a resource for future University Hospitals projects.

Upon completion of the field work, the design team consisting of Perspectus Architecture and CBLH Design collaborated during a benchmarking charrette at the Perspectus office to evaluate four major areas of the respective buildings: the site, the building, major interior spaces, and materials.

These design elements were then sorted into four categories: Go, Keep, Change and Add. This exercise helped identify the key elements that make up the University Hospitals brand and inform the visual language of the North Ridgeville facility. Successful design elements critical to the University Hospitals brand include signage, brick color, glass color, metal panels, curvature and geometric features.

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University Hospitals North Ridgeville Architectural Branding & Concept Development Case Study Book prepared for University Hospitals

Visibility and signage

The Health Center is strategically located off Lorain Road, Interstate 480, and Interstate 80. Because of these direct views, visibility of the building’s signage from major roadways was evaluated as a critical design element.

Functioning like the facility’s own billboard, large planes on the roof of the building were intentionally designed as the backdrop for University Hospitals signage placed on three sides of the building. This creates clear wayfinding to the Emergency Department for patients and visitors arriving from the north.

The health center is purposely placed on the 33-acre property to avoid disturbing the surrounding wetlands. The building’s location allows for scenic nature views of the adjacent pond for staff and patients, while also providing the opportunity for future expansion.

Location and wayfinding

A heliport and a covered ambulance drop-off area accommodate patients requiring critical care. To locate the heliport, Perspectus worked with the helicopter pilot at an early design stage with an actual onsite visit and reviewed approach options making sure that helicopters could take off and land safely.

Adjacent to the Emergency Department is the two-story main lobby that is flooded with natural daylight and serves as the transportation hub for visitors moving throughout the building.

The new health center includes an Emergency Department, Radiology Department, Laboratory, Retail Pharmacy, Digestive Health Department and Medical Offices including Primary Care, Specialty Care, OB/GYN and Pediatrics. Tactical placement of each department not only supports efficient work flow, but also provides patients and visitors a clear understanding of where they are in the building and how to move from one department to the next.

Achieving a unified design

Upon completion, Senior Construction Mgmt. Manager at University Hospitals, Debra DeCapite said, “We had a lot of challenges that were resolved which resulted in a truly beautiful design of this health center.”

Collaboration – both with the design team and the Client – was a key factor in achieving North Ridgeville Health Center’s unique image. The building’s design promotes University Hospitals brand consistency and establishes a source of community pride.

Shaping Today’s Laboratories for the Future

Whether testing patient specimens or developing life-saving medical advancements, laboratories play vital roles in healthcare systems. Healthcare providers depend on laboratories to deliver the best possible patient care. Patients depend on laboratories to provide doctors with the proper information for diagnosis and treatment.

It is important that the design of these complex facilities best serves these functions, allowing for maximum utility of the space. Laboratory design varies immensely from project to project, but one aspect is universal: the design must serve today’s needs and adapt to changing demands over time.

Perspectus Architecture delivers expert programming, planning, and project implementation for clinical, research, and educational lab clients. Utilizing cutting-edge design and leveraging our technical capabilities, we understand the relevant issues facing labs today. Our specialized knowledge of common trends in automation, equipment, staff productivity, and workflow helps us address each lab’s unique challenges and provide efficient, sustainable environments that provide value over time.

Clinical Labs

Clinical lab processes prioritize output and efficiency in delivering information to healthcare providers. Clinical lab design emphasizes creating an environment that facilitates the maximum performance of each lab’s unique operating procedures and processes.

Designing for process and flexibility

Leading trends in the design of clinical labs focus on increased automation and lean workflows. It is vital that labs can evolve with implementing continuous improvements in their processes.

Cleveland Clinic Robert J. Tomsich Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Institute (PLMI)

We design flexible spaces to accommodate for future growth, processes, and technological advancements. Perspectus took this long view when designing the Cleveland Clinic’s Robert J. Tomsich Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Institute (PLMI), completed in 2011. Now years later, the building is accommodating proposed renovations as it was designed to do – with flexibility in responding to lean workflow improvements and an increase in testing volume.

Cleveland Clinic Robert J. Tomsich Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Institute (PLMI)

Designing a space that allows for expansion of automation to process and analyze rising numbers of patient specimens increases efficiency, minimizes mistakes, and reduces repetitive manual work.

“A big trend in all the clinical labs is automation. It is a robotic system where you send the sample through and multiple tests can be done on it. The results are shown via computer; it’s not just individual technicians running the tests,” says Vlad Novakovic, Principal and Laboratory Studio Lead at Perspectus Architecture, “It’s less hands, all automated.”

Another key focus in lab design is implementing lean principles and practices. One example of this is designing labs to minimize steps and eliminate waste so that the workflow is as efficient as possible.

Waste is defined as anything not adding value to a process. For example, if a workspace requires a technician to take an extra step when they only need to turn and grab something, our design process to eliminate those extra steps that are a source of “waste.”

Primary Clinical Laboratory for Health Network Laboratories – Lehigh Valley Health Network

This was particularly important when Perspectus was designing a new primary clinical laboratory for Health Network Laboratories in Allentown, PA. Tasked with converting an old call center into a clinical laboratory, we spent time meeting with the users to thoroughly understand their workflow processes. This informed the design of the new space that is optimized for their workflows and the elimination of wasted steps. For instance, the departments with the highest volumes are positioned closest to incoming specimens. A robot moving on a carefully planned path distributes specimens efficiently without interrupting lab technicians.

Research Labs

While clinical labs are directly tied to current patients, research labs are linked to cures and medical advancements for future patients. Through thoughtful, rigorous design, Perspectus Architecture is creating spaces where doctors and researchers can investigate new treatments and cures for diseases.

Designing for flexibility and collaboration

Trends in research lab design are centered on creating spaces that allow for flexibility and improve collaboration among departments.

Many institutions are hindered by the inefficiency of decentralized spaces – various departments conducting similar research, but spread out across different buildings or floors.

“As they’ve grown into their facility over several years, they’re realigning departments with a common research focus.  This also means reallocating spaces to right-size their needs as research labs grow and contract,” says Bradley Fink, Project Director at Perspectus Architecture.

Perspectus is working with our lab clients to bring researchers together while also providing common spaces with shared, centralized equipment universal to their research. Designing the environments to be flexible based on the ever-changing needs of researchers is critical. For example, while the sink and walls are in a fixed position, benches or ceiling electrical outlets can be reconfigured to accommodate other research or equipment.

“There is a focus on re-organizing based on types of research, but also grouping like-minded researchers in direct proximity. Shared common space promotes more interaction, more collaboration and can accommodate more research,” says Novakovic.

This focus on creating spaces that can evolve over time and foster interaction ultimately provides more efficient operations and has the added benefits of increased collaboration. As leaders in cutting-edge laboratory design, we plan for spaces that will help our clients provide the highest quality care to patients today and tomorrow.