OWP/P designs most environmentally responsible hospital in American Midwest
OWP/P has completed a new US$201 million, eight-storey patient care tower for Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL. The 192-bed facility, designed to the highest standards of patient and staff safety and environmental sustainability, is the first hospital in Illinois expected to achieve LEED Gold certification and will be one of a handful in the country with this designation.
The new 35,670 sq m building housing Lutheran General Children’s Hospital was designed to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers, achieve substantial energy and water-use savings and serve as a community partner. Sustainability was pinned as a key objective from conception and as a result, the building’s mechanical and electrical systems will reduce energy use by 21 percent.
Rainwater collected on site is filtered through the 31,000 native plants within a ground-level rain garden and on the building’s green roof before reaching city storm sewers. The green roof retains 50 percent of the water during an average rainfall and helps insulate the tower while the driveway’s pervious pavement captures water. All of these features lighten the load on the municipal water system.
“Our client embraced ecological, social and economic sustainability in every aspect of this project,” said Randy Guillot, OWP/P design principal, who worked closely with senior designer Troy Hoggard on the building’s design. “We were lucky to have such clear goals in mind throughout the project’s design.”
In the new facility, patient well-being is a primary concern. Floors are laid out in “pods,” with decentralized nursing stations that increase patient safety by reducing medical errors and decreasing noise levels and travel distances. A column-free interior also allows better sight lines for quick response and care. An important safety feature in each of the all-private, single rooms: all beds are within two steps of the door of the bathroom, eliminating 10-20 steps in a typical facility and decreasing the likelihood for patient falls.
Hundreds of doctors, nurses and former patients participated in focus groups, walked through life-sized mock-ups of hospital rooms and offered input. Several changes requested by users improved the comfort and privacy of visitors. For example, a privacy curtain was added to enclose the sleeper sofas available in every room.
As the new front door to Lutheran General’s 645-bed teaching hospital, the patient care tower has a responsibility to create a serene, healthy environment for the public. Patients and visitors can relax in a healing garden that joins the space between the existing hospital building and new tower. The children's hospital within the tower’s second floor includes a rooftop garden for patients and their families—one of the few such outdoor facilities in the nation.