Just a few months ago, the pediatric emergency department of New York-Presbyterian Hospital was hard-pressed to adequately serve its burgeoning community in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. The facilities were fragmented, limited in space, and, because it was situated within an 80-year-old building, it also lacked the systems required to efficiently provide the critical care it aimed to deliver. But thanks to a new design by the New York office of Aedas in collaboration with associate architect Poltronieri Tang, the department operates on a whole new level.
The new $50-million facility―the Alexandra and Steven Cohen Children's Emergency Department―opened this June in New York-Presbyterian's Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital (see coverage of the hospital's center for prenatal pediatrics). At 25,000 square feet, it more than quadruples the size of the former pediatric emergency department, enabling it to meet the increasing demand for pediatric emergency services in the years ahead. The inviting state-of-the-art facility—one of only three Level I pediatric trauma centers in New York state—also stands as proof of the positive impact of evidence-based design. Community and caregivers chime in "The project is the result of a collaborative effort among the design team along with input from hospital staff, patients, and families," says Allison Lyons-Ankerny, division administrator for the children's emergency department. According to David Williams, AIA, Aedas partner and a lead architect on the project, "The staff outlined for us what works and what doesn't, from making the most of their limited budget in terms of life expectancy of materials to work flow to color selection. And the parent advisory committee provided input on what would make both patients and their extended families comfortable." As a result, the facility is technologically equipped to provide the highest level of care for acutely ill and injured children while emphasizing comfort of its young patients and their families through a home-like, hospitality-inspired ambience. These are not just vital in offering topnotch healthcare, but also attracting patients in the competitive New York marketplace.
The department's welcoming and engaging appeal is evident immediately
on approach to the street-level entrance and foyer, which sports a vibrant
mural by internationally acclaimed artist Sol LeWitt. The emergency department
is tucked into a below-grade section of the 12-story Morgan Stanley Children's
Hospital, which was designed by Davis Brody Bond (now Aedas) with Ewing Cole
and completed in 2003. Yet instead of a subterranean experience, visitors
a bright and expansive reception that’s achieved with street-level glazing combined with clerestory windows just beyond it that overlook the lobby. On an open staircase, treads are embedded with images of stars—an element that continues along the floor as a means of wayfinding to key lobby features such as check-in kiosks. Guests can also access the reception via a glass-enclosed elevator.
Catering to families
Intimate groups of varied types of PVC-free upholstered seating and tables bring a living room–like quality, rather than typical institutional rows of chairs, to nooks in the double-height portion of the reception area. These furniture groupings not only break up the space for individual families, but also limit the spread of germs by adding sufficient distance between seating clusters.
Aimed at easing the anxiety that results from hospital visits, quiet reading areas, a body-controlled multi-media interactive wall (joystick-free to prevent the spread of germs), and electronic game tables provide ample modes of distraction. The public areas feature glass walls emblazoned with colorful floor-to-ceiling illustrations from familiar children's literature. Visible from both sides, the imagery also faces most of the 26 private treatment rooms. In addition to the private rooms, the treatment zone contains two trauma rooms, four triage rooms, and a nine-chair asthma treatment area―a response to the community's demographic. The facility is equipped with its own onsite radiology capacity, as well as a dedicated laboratory and pharmacy, eliminating the need for patients to shuffle to other hospital departments and about town.
"Our holistic approach to the design of this facility sets a new standard for pediatric planning and care in New York City," says Williams. "It also establishes a best practice standard in terms of infection control, privacy, and confidentiality, patient flow, and pain management for the rest of the country," adds Lyons-Ankerny. Comfortable and outfitted with state-of-the-art medical equipment, the new facility, which includes a special fast track department that speeds treatment for less-urgent conditions, was also designed to improve flow of patients through the department to reduce wait times and enhance the important business of taking care of one of the community’s most vital assets—its children.
Alexandra and Steven Cohen Children's Emergency Department. Architect Aedas. Associate architect Poltronieri Tang. Client New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Where New York. What 25,000 total square feet on two floors. Cost/sf Withheld at client's request.
Photos by Paul Rivera/archphoto
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