Kaleida Health Gates Vascular Institute
Thursday 13 Jun 2013


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The spirit of collaboration was the driving force uniting Kaleida Health and State University of New York at Buffalo within a single structure, and the building strives to bring several disciplines and its patients, surgeons and researchers, together to exchange knowledge and ignite innovation.

The facility achieves this by stacking a translational research building over a clinical vascular institute.  The bottom half of this 10-story "vertical campus" houses the Gates Vascular Institute (GVI), with the Clinical Translational Research Centre (CTRC) occupying the top half.  Sandwiched between the two, is a two-level "collaborative core"-the "binder" that connects doctors and researchers from varying specialties to meet in a variety of dynamic situations-accelerating medical discoveries and moving science from the bench to the bedside. 

The GVI boasts a "hotel" comprised of 62 private patient rooms arranged into four nursing pods-each capable of independent operation, but flexible enough to work together with adjacent pods over the ebb and flow of patient volume.  The "hotel" creates a more restive environment distinct from the active treatment areas.  Entered through a spacious waiting room, the state-of-the-art emergency department accommodates 60,000 patient visits per year. The perimeter of the building is designed to admit abundant natural daylight.  These architectural responses, combined with an approach akin to a concierge desk, provide the positive first and last impressions so vital to patient and family satisfaction.

The CTRC is comprised of 170,000 sq ft of dedicated laboratory space, advanced imaging facilities; a bio-repository and a clinical research centre. With a goal to break down the "silos" resulting when researchers in one discipline are isolated from researchers in another, open-plan laboratories place researchers side-by-side.  This New Scientific Workplace design encourages the exchange of ideas and collaboration between researchers in different areas of inquiry. 

The striking modern design reflects the high-tech work happening within.  With a 220' x 230' floor plate, standing 190 ft tall, the GVI/CTRC building is essentially a cube. To create visual interest, the design introduces curved edges and corners to soften the boxy appearance and folds a metal ribbon of the building's "wrapper" inside and out to echo the interior distribution of spaces and to symbolise the fluidity of interaction among the collaborative teams.

Designed to attract people to the collaborative core areas, the interior design is enlivened with creative lighting, focal points, bright colours and warm woods that counter play with the crisp neutrals of the building palette.  To emphasise the continuity between outside and inside and among groups of occupants, the curvilinear forms of the structure are reintroduced into the millwork and solid surfaces, accented through use of colour.  

The material character of the superstructure is evidenced in the interiors as an underlying fabric, throughout which threads of individuality emerged.  Specialty colored glass panels, mosaics, paint colours, solid surfacing and furniture - set against the timeless white and gray of the structure - create an identity and brand for each of the spaces.  The terrazzo and colour-matched resinous flooring systems create durable, seamless movement from space to space, while providing a finish appropriate to specific uses.  Lighting fixtures and architectural elements are thoughtfully positioned to provide pattern, form and function.  Glowing colour at the face of the nursing and reception stations assists with way-finding and sense of arrival.  In interior spaces with limited daylight, lighting systems subtly change colours and move slowly over the course of a day, reminding occupants of the passage of time.