Shades of green
Annual Design Award winners feature sustainability, functionality
Sustainable design and construction—as well as ease of facility access for patients and families— were common elements that ran through the entries in Modern Healthcare’s 27th annual Design Awards competition. “I think it’s really uplifting and really revealing,” says Aurelio Posada, senior architectural designer with Hunton Brady of Orlando, Fla., and one of the judges for this year’s competition. “Sustainability is a big issue and a strong trend, and I think it is the right thing to do. It’s pleasing that’s the direction everyone is taking.”
Of the 105 entries, this year’ panel of judges selected 11 as worthy of a Modern Healthcare Design Award. Two received an Award of Excellence, three received an Honorable Mention and six received Citations.
Many of the winning entries were designed to the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, better known as LEED.
This includes the two Award of Excellence winners: the UC San Diego Health System’s Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center’s Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center. Both have already been certified Gold, the second-highest level in the LEED program.
Projects are awarded points for such things as efficient energy and water use, on-site renewable energy generation, recycling and the use of nontoxic building materials. Buildings can achieve basic LEED certification with a minimum of 40 points, while those with higher sustainability scores can be certified LEED Silver (50 points), Gold (60 points) and platinum (80 points). Platinum certification is rare in healthcare, with only two full hospitals and one partial hospital renovation project achieving that level.
“It’s very rewarding that sustainability has become one of the main drivers,” Posada says. “If people are not doing it today, they need to catch up.”
Rulon Stacey, president of the University of Colorado Health system, Aurora, and another Design Awards judge, says he noticed how care was taken to provide an easy journey from the parking lot to the bedside— and added that, in part, this was a response to healthcare reform.
“Organizations built new facilities based on ease of access and making the patient visit more convenient,” Stacey explains. “They asked how easy can patients get in and out, and how can we meet the needs of population management going forward?”
Going further, Stacey says this response was seen in designs offering multiple access points with “different functions in different places for different people. The future is going to be about offering the right care in the right place, and some offered that better than others.”
Entries were evaluated by a panel of four judges based on design excellence, functional utility, flexibility and response to patients and families. Judges were especially impressed by the inclusion of spaces and facilities for family members in so many designs. “The integration of family as part of healing is key,” Posada says. In recent years, a growing trend has been to blend—and maybe blur—the hospital and hospitality industries, but Posada thinks it’s been overdone. “My approach to hospitals is that they should not be perceived as a high-end hotel—and some of the lobbies (of the entries) were like that and that appeals to some people,” he says. “You don’t go to a hospital to feel like you’re in a resort. It’s become a cliche phrase, and it waters down the seriousness of the healthcare.” Stacey, however, says the aim is to make patients feel at home. “That goes to personal preference, and my preference is less institutionalized is more,” he says. “You put people in an environment where the opportunity to heal is enhanced.”
While children’s hospitals and cancer treatment centers have been recognized as leading the deinstitutionalizing movement, this year the top entries were those that centered on the heart: UC San Diego’s 151,000square-foot Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center’s 165,000-squarefoot Milstein Family Heart Center.
Children’s hospitals were still well-represented among the award winners, including two of the three Honorable Mentions, the nexthighest award. Those entries are the 1.07 million-square-foot King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital planned for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; the 265,000-square-foot Kaiser Permanente Small Hospital, Big Idea project designed for Lancaster, Calif.; and the massive 2.5 millionsquare-foot Sheikh Khalifa Medical City being built in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which includes general, pediatric and women’s hospitals all in one facility.
Six projects were recognized with Citation awards: the Lunder Building at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; Mercy Health-West Hospital being built in Cincinnati; Piedmont Newnan (Ga.) Hospital; Roberts Pavilion at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, N.J.; and the UCLA Medical Building, Santa Monica, Calif.
TAKEAWAY: Healthcare execs planning new or renovation projects should make by patients ease of use and navigation and their families high priorities in their design plans.