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.