While all of our designs affect healthcare, not all are the typical ‘face’ of healthcare – an emergency department expansion, a new physician’s office or an outpatient surgery center. Some of our spaces most patients will never experience. I am part of a team that is designing an off-campus clinical laboratory, which will process thousands of specimens a year for several area hospitals.
The key design drivers for this building are flexibility and modularity. The interior design within the laboratory directly relates to the exterior architecture rather than trying to define the space within, as it is designed with the expectation that the layout will change over time. We designed the interior spaces with modular casework that can be easily changed if and when called for. In addition to more than 6,000 SF of shell space, the second floor office area was designed to be able to convert to additional laboratory space if needed as the health system continues its growth.
It was important to our team to incorporate nature into the design palette, since this is a 24/7 facility. Staff will be able to enjoy a sense of the outdoors while inside, no matter what time of day. The exterior, while modern with glass and stone, also integrates wood panels that we replicated on the inside with reclaimed wood accent walls in the conference and lobby spaces. An atrium courtyard nurtures a tree visible from many interior spaces. There are numerous outdoor respites provided for staff, including a roof terrace, a terrace off the conference room and dining areas just outside the staff lounge.
Bold color accents and wall graphics, which aid wayfinding, are an important part of the design. Guests visiting the facility will utilize conference spaces, and the lab itself will be a training space for health system employees from various campuses. A two-story lobby with connective stair allows the lobby greeter to direct guests to the conferencing area without leaving the desk.
Views directly from the lobby to the second floor conference room help guests understand where they will be going once they reach the top of the stairs. Using wall graphics, floor pattern changes and colored ceiling elements, we designed portals to help define spaces. This allows the greeter to easily direct visiting staff to their respective training rooms, which extend along a long corridor.
When this facility is ready in 2021 (a multi-phase construction project, to allow the current laboratory to remain open at 100% throughput), our team is confident it will serve both the staff members and regional health system’s constituents well. With a nearly doubled capacity for throughput and amenity-rich, nature-inspired place to work, the health system and its staff members will benefit from this long awaited upgrade.