Rafael Viñoly Architects design mixed-use hospital complex while making room for future growth
The Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine needed to balance two very specific needs. On one hand, it was the first phase of a 213,676 sq m master plan to create an unusual mix of healthcare, retail, cultural and public spaces that enhance patient-focused care, and thus needed to visually anchor the planned complex. On the other hand, it had to integrate the different functions and needs of the Cancer, Cardiology, Surgery, Ambulatory Care, and Imaging departments currently scattered across campus, into one building.
In response, the Center was conceived as a U-shaped building with an atrium at its center. The transparent, eight-storey-high atrium establishes a prominent urban landmark for the site and entrance to the complex. A modular design concept based on a 30’ x 30’ grid was used for both structure and building services to optimise flexibility in accommodating future expansion and reconfigurations. Currently the five-storey western wing and the four-story eastern wing house the clinical departments. The lower levels contain functions shared by all departments, such as MRI and radiology. A conference center and executive offices are located at the top of the atrium in a five-storey, wood-clad volume.
Inside the building, frequent sightlines of the atrium help orientate visitors and its pleasant, day-lit interior provides a calming ambience where visitors and family members can gather. Waiting rooms and clinical spaces are located along the perimeter of the atrium to maximise natural lighting and views.
Large floor plates surround the atrium, allowing for compact, horizontal department layouts and adjacencies that facilitate interaction among doctors. Seven elevator and stair cores create efficient circulation for staff and visitors.
The Center’s treatment spaces are organised into smaller groups and managed by individual nurse stations using the most advanced treatment options and technology.
The project is located on what was originally a brownfield site previously occupied by an outdated, abandoned convention center and civic museum. While the Center occupies roughly the same footprint as the earlier buildings, it has increased the site’s density and usage; enhanced the public realm with an open-air plaza at its entrance; and seeks to catalyse medical redevelopment and sustainable growth in West Philadelphia.
LEED Silver certification – rare among hospital buildings – was achieved through a number of notable features: electric car charging stations, bike parking, showers for bicycle commuters, a highly reflective roof to reduce heat island effect, and the use of local steel to reduce the environmental costs of shipping.