Contract - The Nature of Geometry: Bellevue Medical Center, Bellevue, Ne., by HDR Architecture

design - features - healthcare design



The Nature of Geometry: Bellevue Medical Center, Bellevue, Ne., by HDR Architecture

15 October, 2010


When thinking about the word “community,” a hospital isn’t necessarily your first thought. With closed-in patient room layouts, strict safety requirements on materials, and somber colors choices, healthcare facilities often tend to be more oppressing than inviting. However, the new, five-story Bellevue Medical Center, opened May 2010 in Bellevue, Neb., demonstrates that by drawing on its surrounding prairie landscape, a hospital intrinsically can be a collective and sustainable environment that welcomes patients, staff, and visitors with open arms.

As one of Nebraska’s largest metro areas, the city of Bellevue surprisingly retains a small-town attitude, with its residents priding themselves on a cohesive sense of community and abundance of local resources. Yet while the city of Bellevue offered much to its population of 50,000, the one thing the area lacked was a community hospital that would elicit this same sense of togetherness in a hospitable design. As such, Bellevue Medical Center’s founders challenged HDR Architecture to design a facility that was “warm and welcoming and comfortably woven into its natural surroundings with a nod of respect to the Offutt Air Force Base that was located nearby,” says Thomas J. Trenolone, AIA, LEED AP, senior project designer at HDR Architecture. “The overarching vision for the new medical center was community with the understanding that it is the community that nurtures and heals.”

HDR Architecture designed the 266,000-sq.-ft. of full-service community hospital and medical offices to reflect the region’s defining grassland landscape, infusing natural material selections—such as stone, wood, metal, and glass—with an abundance of rectilinear shapes to define the layout with a breath of modernity and tactile aesthetic. Heavily textured limestone walls, wood panels, and laminated glass panels adorned with actual prairie grass connect the interior to the exterior; while an outdoor healing garden, with a two-story water cascade invites non-critical patients to relax and heal beyond the walls.

“The interior is designed to soothe and relax, to ease the anxiety often associated with being in a hospital,” says Trenolone. Patient rooms and waiting areas feature water-colored shades of blue and green, mixed with warm gold accents, chocolate brown wood tones, and ivory linens. Carpet patterns are abstracted from nature, and glass along patient room corridors is etched with a grass motif. “There are literally no white walls, a stark contrast from the usual sterile medical environment,” Trenolone says. “The rooms look and feel like they belong in an upscale hotel, rather than a hospital.”

And much like a hotel, patient rooms come with individually controlled thermostats and lighting. Other hospitality-like features include wood cabinetry, ambient and task lighting, wall sconces, wireless Internet access, spa-like floral motifs, and in-room family accommodations. “We examined everything from the viewpoint of a patient’s first impression: Medical outlets, sharps containers and glove boxes are all built in, and several variations of the headwall were mocked up to make it perfect. We incorporated multiple lighting sources and tried to give the patient everything the needed to make their stay more enjoyable,” says Trenolone.  

Throughout the main hospital areas, the designers employed daylighting to orient patients to outdoor views and reduce the amount of energy consumed. Large windows at corridor ends and in patient waiting areas, as well as decorated glass partitions, break up lengthy hallways and allow light to penetrate to the building’s core, making Bellevue Medical 20 percent more efficient than conventional hospitals. Low-VOC and formaldehyde-free materials and energy- and water-efficient inclusions also add to the overall sustainability.

According to Trenolone, the project was realized only with the constant collaboration HDR was able to achieve with the client and contractor. “The synergy we achieved among the three design disciplines of architecture, interiors, and landscape was the most rewarding aspect of the project; their overlap had everything to do with its success,” comments Trenolone. “Throughout the public spaces and patient rooms you can see the care and passion that was put into the design.” Together, style and geometry transform the space into one big, cohesive unit, with an atmosphere of healing all the way through.




The Nature of Geometry: Bellevue Medical Center, Bellevue, Ne., by HDR Architecture

15 October, 2010


courtesy of HDR Architecture, Inc.; © 2010 Farshid Assassi

When thinking about the word “community,” a hospital isn’t necessarily your first thought. With closed-in patient room layouts, strict safety requirements on materials, and somber colors choices, healthcare facilities often tend to be more oppressing than inviting. However, the new, five-story Bellevue Medical Center, opened May 2010 in Bellevue, Neb., demonstrates that by drawing on its surrounding prairie landscape, a hospital intrinsically can be a collective and sustainable environment that welcomes patients, staff, and visitors with open arms.

As one of Nebraska’s largest metro areas, the city of Bellevue surprisingly retains a small-town attitude, with its residents priding themselves on a cohesive sense of community and abundance of local resources. Yet while the city of Bellevue offered much to its population of 50,000, the one thing the area lacked was a community hospital that would elicit this same sense of togetherness in a hospitable design. As such, Bellevue Medical Center’s founders challenged HDR Architecture to design a facility that was “warm and welcoming and comfortably woven into its natural surroundings with a nod of respect to the Offutt Air Force Base that was located nearby,” says Thomas J. Trenolone, AIA, LEED AP, senior project designer at HDR Architecture. “The overarching vision for the new medical center was community with the understanding that it is the community that nurtures and heals.”

HDR Architecture designed the 266,000-sq.-ft. of full-service community hospital and medical offices to reflect the region’s defining grassland landscape, infusing natural material selections—such as stone, wood, metal, and glass—with an abundance of rectilinear shapes to define the layout with a breath of modernity and tactile aesthetic. Heavily textured limestone walls, wood panels, and laminated glass panels adorned with actual prairie grass connect the interior to the exterior; while an outdoor healing garden, with a two-story water cascade invites non-critical patients to relax and heal beyond the walls.

“The interior is designed to soothe and relax, to ease the anxiety often associated with being in a hospital,” says Trenolone. Patient rooms and waiting areas feature water-colored shades of blue and green, mixed with warm gold accents, chocolate brown wood tones, and ivory linens. Carpet patterns are abstracted from nature, and glass along patient room corridors is etched with a grass motif. “There are literally no white walls, a stark contrast from the usual sterile medical environment,” Trenolone says. “The rooms look and feel like they belong in an upscale hotel, rather than a hospital.”

And much like a hotel, patient rooms come with individually controlled thermostats and lighting. Other hospitality-like features include wood cabinetry, ambient and task lighting, wall sconces, wireless Internet access, spa-like floral motifs, and in-room family accommodations. “We examined everything from the viewpoint of a patient’s first impression: Medical outlets, sharps containers and glove boxes are all built in, and several variations of the headwall were mocked up to make it perfect. We incorporated multiple lighting sources and tried to give the patient everything the needed to make their stay more enjoyable,” says Trenolone.  

Throughout the main hospital areas, the designers employed daylighting to orient patients to outdoor views and reduce the amount of energy consumed. Large windows at corridor ends and in patient waiting areas, as well as decorated glass partitions, break up lengthy hallways and allow light to penetrate to the building’s core, making Bellevue Medical 20 percent more efficient than conventional hospitals. Low-VOC and formaldehyde-free materials and energy- and water-efficient inclusions also add to the overall sustainability.

According to Trenolone, the project was realized only with the constant collaboration HDR was able to achieve with the client and contractor. “The synergy we achieved among the three design disciplines of architecture, interiors, and landscape was the most rewarding aspect of the project; their overlap had everything to do with its success,” comments Trenolone. “Throughout the public spaces and patient rooms you can see the care and passion that was put into the design.” Together, style and geometry transform the space into one big, cohesive unit, with an atmosphere of healing all the way through.

 


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