Category: Press

Penn Medicine Radnor Wins National AIA Healthcare Design Award

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) recognized Penn Medicine Radnor as an example of the best of healthcare building design in the US.

One of six projects selected, Radnor was praised for its integration into the community and natural environment. The jury noted, “the building serves as an elegant but understated backdrop to its landscape with elements of delight that are impactful and purposeful.”    

Read the complete article.

Penn Medicine Radnor selected as Finalist in Healthcare Design Showcase

Penn Medicine Radnor, designed by Ballinger, was a finalist in Healthcare Design (HCD) Magazine’s 2021 Healthcare Design Showcase. A jury appointed by the Center for Health Design, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) scored projects based on categories of innovation, aesthetics, experience, and operational performance. The jury, representing the design and healthcare industries, recognized Penn Medicine Radnor’s environmental stewardship and biophilia, commenting on its “aesthetics defined by light-filled spaces, a warm neutral palette, and nature-inspired graphics.”

The project was published in the August issue of the magazine. Click here to view the publication.

Welcome addition

The NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns was featured in the August issue of Healthcare Design Magazine. Writer Joann Plockova described its inviting environments for mothers and families.   

Excerpted from Healthcare Design:

As a whole, the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center in Manhattan houses three distinct programs: ambulatory care; an integrative health and wellbeing center; and the newest addition, a hospital for women and newborns. Largely constructed following the opening of the first two programs in 2018, the Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, which opened in August 2020, offers comprehensive care for mother and infant—before, during, and after birth, including specialized prenatal care and neonatal intensive care. However, it wasn’t a planned tenant from the beginning. Rather, the women’s hospital was considered along with the idea of additional ambulatory care to fill the building’s top six floors of shell space. But when neighboring NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s Greenberg Pavilion sought to expand capacity for its women and newborn services, the organization looked to those Koch Center floors as a convenient and natural fit for a new women’s hospital. “Relocating to the building across the street allows us to grow the service and provide a physical environment that matches the exceptional patient care,” says Hillary Shaw, vice president of the Alexander Cohen Hospital for Woman and Newborns and the David H. Koch Center in New York.

COMPREHENSIVE SERVICES

Spanning 246,500 gross square feet, the new Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns includes ultrasound and antepartum outpatient services on the 12th floor; labor and delivery on the 14th floor; a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with MRI and an operating room on the 15th floor; and three floors dedicated to inpatient postpartum care on floors 16 to 18. Designed to accommodate 7,000 births per year, the hospital, which nearly triples the organization’s previous space for mother and infant care, includes 75 private antepartum and postpartum rooms (up from 68), 60 newborn intensive care beds (up from 50, and including 42 private units), and 16 labor and delivery rooms (up from 11). Clinical spaces include five C-section operating rooms, 20 triage/prep/recovery rooms, eight private antepartum testing rooms, and 15 ultrasound rooms on the 12th floor.

The project was a collaboration between several firms that delivered the earlier Koch Center projects, including HOK (New York) as project architect and Ballinger (Philadelphia), which served as medical architect and healthcare planner; interior design was by HOK with Ballinger.

Similar to the Koch Center’s existing design, the women’s hospital offers an oasis from the urban environment while addressing the specific needs of its patients and families. “[For mothers and their families] it’s an exciting situation to be in, but quite stressful,” says Sara Ridenour, associate principal at Ballinger. To help address that, the project team crafted a clear path to help patients get from start to finish with ease. “We choreographed the experience for all parties via flow mapping,” says Ridenour. After arriving at the drop-off area—designed as a quiet, internal avenue where patients can avoid the stress of a busy city street—patients are greeted in the main lobby of the Koch Center and directed to dedicated elevators that stop only on floors 12 through 18. Notified that a patient is on the way, a staff member will be waiting upon arrival in the sky lobby, located in the corner on each floor and offering views of the city, to escort the patient to either a prep/recovery room for a scheduled C-section or triage. After giving birth, mothers are then transported to the postpartum unit via dedicated elevators within the hospital.

Another connection between the new hospital and the established Koch Center is the continuation of the onstage/offstage operational flow. The building’s L-shaped floor plate provided a natural split to place offstage services, including the staff corridor, on the inside of the L, while public and patient spaces are on the periphery with access to views of New York and plenty of natural light (with the exception of the 12th floor, where the corridor is on the perimeter).

A focus on patient-centered care, including private patient rooms and family support amenities, was among five “Departmental Visions and Goals for Maternity and NICU” outlined for the project by NewYork-Presbyterian, Shaw says. Every patient room has three zones, including a caregiver zone from the entrance to the bed; a patient zone at the headwall; and a family zone, which is typically against the window. “We were very deliberate in moving to a private model,” she says. “Private rooms allow for greater bonding between the new family unit where the mother, partner, and newborn can bond together in the postpartum or NICU rooms. Partners or parents can sleep over and be more involved with the care of their loved ones.”

Ridenour says private areas for family are prioritized, too. “Sometimes family members need respite, too; and reducing stress and providing comfort for mother, baby, and family is part of the project vision,” she says. For example, every floor has a family lounge, which is centrally located near the entrance for easy access, while on the labor and delivery floor, there’s a partner’s lounge that offers a place for retreat when needed. The NICU floor houses a shower, laundry, and a sibling child life room. The postpartum floors include multipurpose education rooms and a family dining room on the 16th floor where families can have a celebration dinner.

Staff spaces in the core include a layered zone of three adjoined areas including a nurses’ station/administrative area, a large team room/ touchdown area, and a smaller dictation room for physicians in the back. These three connected spaces are encased in glass, which allows staff to have access to natural daylight coming in through the patient rooms. A sliding glass door between the spaces allows the team to open up the rooms for larger meetings. “There are levels of privacy and collaboration that we made as flexible as possible,” says Ridenour. Decentralized nurses’ stations are located between every two rooms throughout the hospital and between every room on the NICU floor.

The NICU patient rooms are arranged to operate as distinct neighborhoods, with 12 rooms on the west side that can be divided into one or two neighborhoods and 38 rooms on the east side, which can be organized into two or three neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a dedicated entry point to eliminate travel through one neighborhood to get to another. In addition, an offstage corridor is provided for staff and supplies to reduce noise levels in the patient area and minimize conflicts with family flow. “I think one thing that’s really great about our NICU is we brought all of the services to the floor, so we don’t have to transport these critically ill babies except for in very unique circumstances,” says Shaw. “By bringing the MRI and operating room to the floor, we’ve really integrated care into one location for the family.”

SPECIAL DELIVERY

Although some of the communal spaces, like the multipurpose education rooms and the family dining space, have been “sitting vacant for the time being” due to COVID-19, Shaw says, feedback on the hospitality approach has been positive.

Specifically, patients are appreciative of the privacy, large rooms, art program, an abundant light incorporated throughout—insight that confirms the organization’s decision to fill the shell floors with the women’s hospital was the right one. “[It’s] allowed us to offer the very best care for our patients in a bright and nurturing environment that prioritizes comfort, safety, and privacy,” Shaw says.

Stemmler Hall Published in BD+C

The University of Pennsylvania’s Edward J. Stemmler Hall was profiled in Building Design + Construction (BD+C) magazine. The project won a Bronze Award in BD+C’s 2020 Reconstruction Awards.

Excerpted from Building Design + Construction:

Edward J. Stemmler Hall is an essential bridge that links the realms of education, discovery, and clinical practice for the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. The biomedical research and teaching facility, which was originally built in 1978, is located on the university’s campus at a critical juncture between academic, research, and healthcare facilities.

As a means of advancing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan, the school was considering a building systems-based retrofit of the 230,000-sf Stemmler Hall that would increase energy efficiency and renew building infrastructure.

But after some discussion, Ballinger, the project architect, proposed a more holistic solution: a comprehensive renovation that would transform the building, providing new Class A laboratory space and replacing all building systems. The project sought to increase energy efficiency and deliver 102,000 sf of fully renovated research space.

Because of the building’s pivotal campus role, the facility needed to remain operational throughout construction, which posed logistical challenges related to accessing, assessing, and working within an occupied building.

Construction was sequenced into three phases in order to maintain occupancy within the building:

  • Phase 0: Enabling Electrical and Tele/Data Infrastructure installed; temporary rooftop mechanical systems installed to maintain building operations
  • Phase 1: Renovate Levels B, G, 1, and 2; additional temporary mechanical systems installed to maintain building operations
  • Phase 2: Renovate Levels 3, 4, and 5; install permanent mechanical systems within renovated Penthouse 

Occupant safety was assured by implementing open lines of communication. Project websites, weekly construction update emails, and town hall gatherings informed building users about progress, shutdown notices, and work schedules.

The build team drew upon Louis Kahn’s Richards Medical Research Laboratory, a landmark of the University of Pennsylvania’s design heritage, as a means of embedding the Stemmler Hall project within its context. Paying homage to this landmark, existing cast-in-place stair and elevator cores within Stemmler Hall were cleaned, restored, and highlighted as feature elements of the building. The concrete’s finish and texture serves as both a way-finding element and a unique component of the overall materials palette.

The renovation moved away from compartmentalized spaces and, instead, implemented an open lab concept that was critical to improving utilization within the existing floorplate. On the building’s lower levels, underutilized educational and administrative spaces were converted into revenue-generating research space. 

A monumental stair improves campus flow and strengthens the connection between clinical practice and medical research, while an existing dark passageway beneath the building was reclaimed as a lobby that now acts as a connector to the surrounding buildings. Additional dark corridors were reimagined as bright, open spaces. At the building entry, a meandering series of public spaces were repurposed to better support student life.

Deteriorated exterior insulation was replaced with foil-faced insulation, existing windows were replaced, a new insulated roof was installed, and existing pipes that had corroded over time were replaced.

The completed project delivered a 50% increase in lab workstation capacity, a 50% reduction in energy use, and $900,000 in projected annual energy cost savings. Stemmler Hall has become one of the most energy efficient research building’s on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and is anticipated to obtain LEED Gold certification.

Observations from the Epicenter

Ballinger architect Sarah J. Blitzer, RA coauthored an article about COVID-19’s potential impact on hospital design, published in the January/February 2021 issue of Medical Construction & Design. She collaborated with two Columbia University Irving Medical Center residents, Nicholas J. Shea, MD, MS and David Blitzer, MD. The observations, based on the residents’ experience treating COVID patients and Sarah’s understanding of healthcare design, focus on flexibility, infection control and social distancing.

Link to Article

VCU STEM Building Taking Shape

Construction continues on the new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Building at Virginia Commonwealth University, designed by Ballinger and Quinn Evans.

Excerpted from VCU News:

Construction of Virginia Commonwealth University’s new science, technology, engineering and math building will reach a milestone next week when the first steel beams will be delivered and erected.

The new 168,000-square-foot, six-floor building is under construction at the site of VCU’s former Franklin Street Gym, which was demolished last year. The STEM building is slated to open by spring 2023.

“It is wonderful to see this new building take shape,” said Jennifer Malat, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences. “I am delighted for our faculty, staff and students who will utilize this new space. Not only will this building provide much needed classroom and study space, but it will also feature laboratories where our students can get hands-on experience, putting the knowledge they receive in the classroom into practice. The new STEM building is essential to ensuring that our students become the next leaders in science, math, health care and technology fields.”

Construction has been underway since demolition of the former gym was completed in June. Since then, utilities and the foundation have been installed, as well as all electrical and plumbing services under the first floor. Installation of the steel gets underway March 1.

“The steel erection is impressive though because the building takes form quickly,” said Joe Mannix, assistant director of construction management in the VCU Division of Administration.

The building will expand existing lab space, facilitate innovative and flexible teaching methods, provide students with instructional and study spaces, and free up space in other College of Humanities and Sciences buildings.

It will feature 34 teaching labs; the Math Exchange, an innovative facility for math instruction; a Science Learning Center; two large-capacity classrooms; computer labs; and large- and small-capacity flexible classrooms. It will feature instructional wet and dry labs and classrooms for teaching STEM subjects.

The building will also provide a common space for VCU students taking gateway courses in anthropology, biology, chemistry, forensics, kinesiology, mathematics, physics and psychology. These courses are taken by a majority of College of Humanities and Sciences students, as well as many other students from across the university.

“There are spaces designed in the building for collaboration and teamwork, providing exciting opportunities for the students to work together across disciplines,” said Sally S. Hunnicutt, Ph.D., a professor and associate dean for science and mathematics in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “Likewise, there are meeting spaces for faculty from different disciplines to come together to help students learn science and math. The classroom spaces are intentionally designed for team-based learning — even in the largest classrooms — where faculty instructors can more easily implement the best evidence-based pedagogy.”

The Math Exchange, Hunnicutt said, will be particularly notable. Its design is based on an ellipse, and includes both open and enclosed spaces for students to learn at their own pace or in larger groups with an instructor.

The building will also be the new home of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

“Overall, the new STEM lab and classroom building is tangible evidence that our students are at the heart of our college and of VCU,” Hunnicutt said.

Funding for the $124 million project was provided by the state in 2019. Hourigan is the construction manager for the project and the architects are Ballinger and Quinn Evans.

Learn more about the project here.

Airborne Infection Control Strategies

Ballinger’s David Gordon co-authored a paper on airborne infection control strategies published in the Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal. The paper, “Built Environment Airborne Infection Control Strategies in Pandemic Alternative Care Sites,” evaluates the CDC’s hierarchy of controls and evidence-based design features from inpatient care spaces, airborne infection isolation rooms, and biocontainment rooms to propose a framework for bolstering preparedness in alternative care sites. The paper identifies how innovative technologies, including optimized air-handling systems with ultraviolet and particle filters, can support a clinically resilient infection control strategy. 

David collaborated with Jane Ward, MD, MPH of Uniformed Services University, Christopher J. Yao, MPH of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED Fellow​, WELL AP  of the University of Pennsylvania and IndigoJLD​.

Read the full publication here.

Effects of Covid-19 on the Workplace

Work Design Magazine published an article by Interiors Studio Leader Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP. The piece, titled “The Effects of Covid-19 on the Workplace: Reinforcing Culture, Creating an Amenity,” is part of the publication’s “Expert Insights” column.

Except from Work Design Magazine:

Creating a clear organizational culture will lead to the best possible built space as we return to work post-COVID-19. 

As we begin to think about the future of the workplace, the question persists from knowledge workers, “why should we go back to the office given that remote work has proven to be successful?” Helping to define and express how the workplace provides value, and how companies and individuals ensure that coming into the office is purposeful, will be essential goals of future workplace strategies.

Culture is essential to an engaged workforce

Creating a clear definition of company culture continues to prevail as a key element to an engaged workforce. While many software tools are available to bring together a distributed workforce, our research shows that spontaneous and ad hoc interactions help employees grow and learn. Especially for less experienced professionals, on-the-job learning is intangible and leads to high preforming employees. These informal interactions develop a strong work ethic and help them absorb cultural cues about organizational behavior. Building a virtual culture, or more importantly, balancing a virtual and in-person culture, is a critical aspect of asynchronous working. Socialization and mentorship are important factors as we continue in a socially distanced paradigm of work that will need to be supported through the workspace.

Freelancers are indicators of changing attitudes toward loyalty

Even before COVID-19, contractor culture and the gig economy were growing. As more coworking spaces have sprung up throughout the country, individual workers have started to think about the value of their own time, and their long-term engagement with companies. Freelancing goes hand-in-hand with remote work, and will continue to blossom as new ways of working emerge and are enabled. Every CFO knows that the most expensive and important asset of a company is payroll. As employee allegiance changes nationwide, it is more important than ever to compel top employees to be invested and engaged in their work and organizational culture, even if it is in a more distributed model.

Think of workspace as an amenity to attract workers, retain staff and improve culture

One way to build loyalty and culture is to think of a company’s physical space as an amenity. Amenities are often thought of as constructs that keep people in the office. In years previous, many companies built in snacks, foosball tables and other services to help keep people in the office beyond the typical 9-5. Moving forward, it will be important for “amenities” to be more work-focused, supportive of the reasons that individuals are coming into the physical workspace, and coordinated with their work-life balance. There is no longer the need to keep people “present” in the office, but while they are there, they should be highly productive.

Space will also need to build community, identity and social connections that are hard to achieve remotely. Offices can offer benefits that cannot be achieved in remote work settings, and thus encourage workers to come in. In addition to face time with mentors, spontaneous interactions and socialization, offices can offer quiet spaces for focused work, access to technology or even just a change in pace that many crave when distributed work becomes mundane.

The built environment is important to establishing culture, and can be harnessed to enhance productivity and loyalty. Exploring how the workforce views their workplace and what they would like to see improved is an important first step in developing a workplace strategy. That foundation enables companies to curate a future-looking workspace. That could mean providing possibly less, but higher quality space to help differentiate environments. Creating a physical workspace that employees want to come to and supports their work processes that cannot be done remotely (or at least not as efficiently) will require thoughtful strategies.

Old models for planning space are no longer reliable, new models will emerge

We often approach space planning challenges by utilizing standard ratios of space types, developed over years of research, coupled with our understanding of the patterns knowledge workers engage in over the course of the work day. As that typical work day becomes even more diverse, ratios will change, become more varied and less reliable. Planning strategies will cater towards more individualistic approaches and asynchronous schedules. Reliable and consistent analysis of badge and occupancy data will be hard to come by for the near future, but it will become an important tool to understand the distributed workforce. Defining and building space that has been well researched and validated through a workplace research and strategy process will help create highly utilized environments that supports company culture.

Examples of shifting planning metrics
  • Shifting ratios will inevitably affect how we plan workspaces and allocate real estate. Basic metrics that we have grown accustomed to, will shift to focus on communal aspects of working in the office. There may be less individual workspace, and more shared work areas. This seems counter-intuitive given the pandemic response’s emphasis on reducing surface contact inherent in shared workspaces, but in the long run, this balance will help support creating the office as an amenity or destination, rather than a place where attendance is the key benchmark.
  • Depending on what people’s home life looks like, there will still be a need for focused work space. Ratios of open to enclosed collaboration and an emphasis on air flow and acoustics will be important to success.
  • Understanding what activities are happening during meetings in conference rooms will define the future space need. For example, the traditional conference room with a large meeting table that everyone can sit around may not remain as the predominant space type outside of the individual work seat. Flexible meeting furnishings that allow for different configurations, and a focus on high and low tech tools that facilitate different types of collaboration will become more important.  New space types that best support collaboration, physically and virtually, will look different.

Our ability to create clear organizational cultures and to research and strategize around asynchronous and distributed work models will lead to the best possible built space, and prove to be differentiators of successful workplace design.

ILSB Recognized for Collaborative Process

The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was selected for a Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) Project Leadership Award.

The ILSB received the 2020 COAA Way Award. The COAA Way Award recognizes successfully completed projects, a desire to continuously improve, and a belief that working collaboratively will lead to greater success. It is based on the principle that a team of people sharing best practices, in a culture built on trust and respect, will complete better projects.

The ILSB is a center for research, active learning, innovation, and inspiration, supporting UMBC’s mission of student success and research discoveries. Located on a pivotal corner, the ILSB is visually open to the campus, a symbol of the vibrant research conducted at UMBC. The building is clad predominantly in red brick to integrate with its context, but also includes large areas of glass that showcase research and teaching laboratories to the campus community.

COAA a national organization of public and private owners who manage facilities development and capital improvement projects. The ISLB team was honored at COAA’s Fall Virtual Leadership Conference yesterday, November 12.

Judging a Book by Its Cover

Building Design + Construction (BD+C) profiled the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center, which was recognized with a Building Team Award from BD+C this year.

Excerpted from Building Design + Construction:

This 17-story building encompasses three separate programs: The David H. Koch Center Ambulatory Care Center, Integrative Health, and the Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns that occupies the top six floors and is designed to support a future 230,000-sf overbuild.

The client’s vision was guided by six patient-centric and operational-efficient planning and design principles that emphasize quality and flexibility.

Three architectural firms collaborated on devising a unified concept that achieves the highest degree of patient experience. Doctors, nurses and staff were involved in the development of the facility, too. During the design phase, the team conducted a series of future technology work sessions, seeking opinions from clinical leaders, medical equipment research and development teams, and IT experts in order to anticipate future developments in healthcare technology, effectively designing flexible rooms that could be equipped with technology that didn’t exist yet. 

For example, a vertical zone of removable curtail wall panels, known as “the zipper,” enables new medical equipment to be hoisted into the building. The selective use of long structure spans in procedure areas maximizes floor plate efficiency by created large zones of unobstructed floor area and enabling floor-to-floor standardization.

One of the Building Team’s key objectives was the implementation of the Last Planner System, which began during the foundation and superstructure phase in 2015. This collaborative approach produced a detailed master plan whose result was the completion of the building ahead of schedule. 

The scheduling was abetted by a “Clean Sweep” approach that organized each floor into three zones, each of which was treated as an independent handover. As a result, punch-list items were completed in half the normal time. Task forces were formed specifically to resolve punch-list and Department of Health-related items.

Other discussions among the Building Team and experts helped to identify changes and accommodations that made this project work. These include:

• Shifting the location of caissons and installing added grade beams to maintain the structural integrity of five sub cellars.

• Locating the diagnostic imaging department to the 7th floor rather than the basement, partly for purposes of sustainability;

• Locating infusion and radiation oncology departments on the 4th floor with daylight and views. Moving the LINAC Vaults to that floor required coordination among multiple trades to sequence installation. The infusion spaces range from private to community areas and are designed for a variety of treatment types. The surfaces installed in these rooms—made from wood, stone, and natural materials—are meant to evoke comfort and ease.

The building’s curtain wall is one of its distinguishing features.

On the clinical floors, wood screen was inserted into the triple-glazed assembly, along with an undulating frit pattern, giving the curtain wall—the first of its kind at this scale—its rich character. Each of the curtain wall’s 18×18-ft panels was initially loaded onto floors, staged, and installed using an outrigger system. For purposes of trade efficiency, the team eventually switched to using one of the existing tower cranes, a decision that increased production by 37%.

This strategy enabled a visually distinctive and highly sustainable curtain wall that recesses at the 40-ft-high lobby level to give the building institutional gravity and transparency. The lobby looks onto an adjacent garden at Rockefeller University, and its open staircase inside leads to a mezzanine with food service, seating options, and connection to the Integrative Health program. Gathering areas were designed with a welcoming, hospitality-like ambiance. 

The exterior edge of each floor plate is reserved for circulation and open areas, which provide occupants with natural lighting and views, even during infusion or when in transit to operating areas. The clinical floors, organized with perimeter circulation, give patients and visitors the opportunity to experience the façade on a more personal scale.

A clinical floor typically includes a sky lobby, 12 procedure rooms, and 36 private prep and recovery rooms, whose proximity minimizes patient movement. Operating rooms are accessed through a light-filled corridor. The operating suites and interventional procedure rooms are equipped with the latest in advanced medical technology.

This is New York City’s first hospital to be certified LEED Gold. A green roof covers 30% of the roof area, helping to reduce the urban heat island effect and to slow stormwater runoff. The curtain wall system is designed to mitigate solar heat gain and ensure interior comfort. 

Critical building systems and infrastructure that are essential to maintaining building operations during an emergency were located to protect and isolate them from hazards. Back-up systems and redundancy are incorporated into the design so that the hospital can deliver uninterrupted care during a severe weather occurrence. 

The Koch Center also showcases a fully integrated art program that hosts a diverse collection that includes a vibrant mosaic-tile wall by Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes that adorns the building’s patient drop-off area.

Planning Facilities for Telehealth

Ballinger Senior Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., FAIA, FACHA, ACHE contributed to the cover story of Health Facilities Management’s October issue. The article, “Planning Facilities for Telehealth,” describes considerations for designing healthcare environments that accommodate rapidly evolving technology. 

Excerpted from Health Facilities Management, a monthly publication of the American Hospital Association:

Remote provision of health care services — often referred to as telehealth or telemedicine — has grown in importance, especially with COVID-19-related restrictions on in-person interactions. 

“We know consumers want telemedicine,” says Louis A. Meilink Jr., FAIA, FACHA, ACHE, senior principal at Ballinger, a health care design firm in Philadelphia. “And from a space perspective, telemedicine can be anywhere, from primary and ambulatory care centers, cancer centers, emergency departments, patient rooms, and many other clinical and nonclinical spaces. Implementing telemedicine is a matter of having technology in the space where it’s needed and providing the supporting clinical care model, access and reimbursement structure.”

As Meilink notes, the range of telemedicine applications is broad. Remote clinical care encounters can include a physician with a patient in a hospital; a caregiver with a patient at home; a specialist with a patient and caregiver; caregivers meeting with each other; and remote monitoring of patients in a hospital or home care setting.

Consequently, the creation of effective telehealth spaces is today more important than ever, and telehealth should be considered early in the design phase of a new or renovated health care facility. That hasn’t always been the case, experts say.

“Telehealth is one of those things that has often been an afterthought,” says Bryan Arkwright, co-founder and chief research officer of Cromford Health, a digital health research and advisory firm. “But the facility issues are important. Those details can stop or slow a project.”

As a sign of this growing recognition, the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Health Guidelines Revision Committee (HGRC) established minimum requirements for telemedicine spaces and offered additional recommendations supported by research and best practices in its 2018 Guidelines for Design and Construction documents for hospitals and outpatient facilities. 

Additionally, the brief telemedicine guidance provided in FGI’s 2018 Residential Guidelines has been expanded significantly for the 2022 edition.

Dedicated, integrated or mobile?

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) website, telehealth is different from telemedicine in that it refers to a broader scope of remote health care services than telemedicine. While telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, telehealth can refer to remote nonclinical services and electronic information sharing, AAFP states. In practice, however, the terms often are used interchangeably.

Perhaps the first design decision that has to be made is whether the system will include dedicated spaces for telehealth; mobile carts that can be rolled from space to space; or telemedicine tools integrated into patient rooms, exam spaces, conference rooms or doctors’ offices. 

“Telehealth can be deployed in any room anywhere in a facility,” says Rebecca Lewis, FAIA, FACHA, CID, director of health care design for DSGW Architects in Duluth, Minn. “You can talk to someone on an iPad, a screen within an exam room or in an office space. You just need to know what’s the best spot to deliver the right kind of care.”

The decision about which form the telehealth facilities will take comes down to a number of variables, ranging from finances to the deployment strategy, with planning strategies including:

Teleheath carts. A hospital or outpatient facility with limited money available to invest in telehealth may choose to make it available on carts that can be wheeled from room to room as needed. Outfitting a cart may cost more than integrating telehealth equipment into a patient room, but using carts can save money because a relatively small number of carts can serve multiple patient rooms and other spaces. Carts can be cumbersome, and care needs to be taken with their cords, but cart-based telehealth is a viable solution for many facilities.

Integrated setups. Many hospitals have opted to build telehealth tools directly into patient rooms. Similarly, ambulatory health facilities that include telehealth sometimes integrate the tools into exam rooms or conference rooms. An integrated setup can be the most convenient, and the equipment — such as the TV monitor — can be used for other purposes when not needed for telehealth.

Kaiser Permanente has integrated telehealth equipment into some of its patient rooms and uses telehealth carts to serve others.

“Our newest hospital, Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, is equipped with monitors and two-way videos in each of our patient rooms,” says Angelene Baldi, AIA, EDAC, executive director of facilities strategy, planning and design for Kaiser Permanente and a member of the HGRC. “This can be used for telehealth appointments and is also used for entertainment, educational programs, food orders and more. In our older facilities, we use mobile video carts that can be wheeled into patient rooms for video appointments. These serve a dual purpose and can also be used as charting stations for nurses and clinicians.”

Kaiser Permanente’s telehealth program — which is currently handling 55% of the system’s ambulatory care visits — puts a premium on flexibility, says Zack Ryan, executive director of information technology capital project delivery. He says the facilities are designed to allow physician and patient interactions in a wide variety of situations.

“These tools need to be available to both our members and our providers in as many different situations and modalities as possible in order to deliver the optimal digital experience that can truly augment our in-person interactions,” Ryan says. “Our telehealth platform is built so that a provider can take their appointments and ad-hoc visits from their office, clinical spaces, home or other remote locations on a variety of devices. We also created this flexibility for our members and patients.” 

Dedicated spaces. Dedicated telehealth spaces take several forms. Some are designed exclusively for caregivers treating patients remotely, while others are set up so patients and caregivers can be in the dedicated room together and access another caregiver — a specialist, for example — via the telehealth equipment. The advantage of a dedicated space is that everything in the space can be optimized for telehealth.

At least one facility, Mercy Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield, Mo., is entirely composed of dedicated spaces. According to Mercy’s website, caregivers at four-story, 125,000-square-foot Mercy Virtual facility provide around-the-clock supplemental assistance and monitoring to caregivers in the 43 hospitals that make up the Mercy system and other facilities outside Mercy.

However, in some cases, dedicated spaces are not used enough to be worthwhile, says Patricia Shpilberg, M.Arch, vice president of planning and development for MedCraft, a health care real estate development firm headquartered in Minneapolis. She adds that access and ease of use are as essential for providers as they are for patient adoption of the technology.

“We had a client who had dedicated telehealth spaces away from their clinics and offices for providers to use during their virtual care sessions,” Shpilberg says. “The result was a limited adoption rate due to the disruption to their workday. Once the hospital integrated telehealth systems into the office work environment, the provider adoption rate started to rise.”

“There are a lot of times the patient is not present in an initial complex case discussion between providers in different specialties, so that’s why that larger telehealth suite was developed: to allow for ease of use and connection with multiple caregivers,” says Jennifer Ruschman, senior director of the center for telehealth at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has a mix of telehealth systems, but their mix includes several dedicated spaces, including a telehealth conference room that seats 18 to 20 people.

Sometimes a facility simply can’t afford to set aside space solely for telehealth, says Lewis, who regularly works with small rural facilities where budget is limited. In those facilities, a conference room or exam room might be optimized for telehealth but made available for other uses when it’s not being used for telehealth.

Regardless of whether a facility opts for dedicated, integrated or cart-based telehealth, experts say flexibility is essential.

“You need to build in flexibility because technology changes constantly,” Meilink says. “Especially on larger projects, the technologies you’re designing for in year one or two may not be what you’re going to install in year five when the building opens. You need to consider infrastructure — such as wireless technology and systems pathways — that enables future changes, including accommodating technology that doesn’t yet exist.”

Ryan says that is exactly how Kaiser Permanente thinks about its telehealth installations.

“It’s challenging to build for the future, with rapid development and changes in technology,” Ryan says. “The building timeline for hospitals is around five years, from design to opening, and telehealth solutions, use cases and infrastructure are very fast moving. The key to success is to plan and design hospitals for what you want the future patient experience to look like, and to create room for flexibility in the design and technology capabilities. 

“Kaiser Permanente strives to enable all of our new facilities to support telehealth, rather than only building these requirements into specific projects,” Ryan says.

Design practices

Many design elements of a telehealth program are similar regardless of whether the equipment is on a cart, integrated into a patient room or doctor’s office, or set up in a dedicated telehealth space. Every telehealth endpoint — that is, where the system connects to a caregiver or a patient — should meet some basic best practices to ensure an ideal experience for all involved parties.

Arkwright says that the standards used by the film industry — such as good lighting, proper acoustics and effective camera angles — should apply to telemedicine as well. 

“Imagine the professionalism CNN or ESPN takes in its productions,” Arkwright says. “Sometimes just the opposite goes on in telehealth. You can beam into a health system and the lighting is terrible, the background is dark, the doctor’s face is washed out and they’re hard to hear. Compare that to when everything is optimal or professional grade. That’s probably the difference between a patient perceiving, ‘This is high-quality care or not.’ These little things are important.”

The following guidelines apply regardless of the endpoint — a patient or exam room, a physician’s office, a conference room or a dedicated telehealth space:

Room size. With the right technology, telehealth can be deployed in any size room. Thus, a facility that is renovating an existing space to accommodate telehealth can create a program regardless of how small the room is. However, in a newly designed space or a renovated space that can be expanded, a larger size is desirable. The FGI Guidelines suggest that “the room should be large enough for the patient and the patient presenter, if one is present, to move about comfortably. The patient should be able to sit in a chair as well as use the examination table … Where the examination includes gait evaluation, the room should provide sufficient space for this activity to be captured by the screen.”

Surface colors. The space should be painted in a nonglossy, neutral color. Light blue or light gray work particularly well, Arkwright says. “White can be a little sterile or too bright, and yellow doesn’t do well on camera,” he says. “If the patient room is painted yellow, the patient might look like they have jaundice.”

Ruschman says they considered paint color carefully when designing the dedicated telehealth spaces at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and came up with a combination of colors that looks good on video and blends well with the hospital’s brand color palette. 

Lighting sources. Ideally, the light source should be bright and positioned in front of the subject — the patient or the caregiver — so that it illuminates the face clearly. Natural light is good for accurately rendering color, but it’s difficult to control, so if the space has windows, make sure they can be covered when the natural light is not flattering. 

At the Liberty Campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which features telehealth equipment in each of its 40 patient rooms, natural light is controlled by blinds. “We don’t want to limit the natural light in patient rooms, but it can cause shadows, so we address that as part of our training,” Ruschman says. “We teach users how to do a self-view check — if it’s not good, they pull the blinds.”

Regardless of the light source, it should be balanced and distributed, says Ellen Taylor, Ph.D., AIA, EDAC, vice president for research at The Center for Health Design in Concord, Calif. “You need frontal lighting so there are no shadows,” says Taylor, who is a member of the HGRC. “But you also don’t want someone to look washed out, so depending on the task and type of treatment, the color and brightness of the light matter, too.” 

A technical measure of how well a light bulb renders color is the color rendering index (CRI), which ranges from 0 to 100. Natural sunlight is 100, and a dim streetlight is about 0. Sometimes CRI is not indicated on a lightbulb package, but if the bulb has a CRI of 90 or more (which is preferable), it usually will say so on the package. The FGI Guidelines call for lights in telehealth spaces to be warm, white light — 3,200 to 4,000 Kelvin. 

Endpoint background. Designers should consider the background of a TV newscast — if it’s not an image related to the newscast or the network logo, there’s usually not much there. That’s because the network wants the viewers to pay attention to the anchor, not the background. Designers should have the same goal for the background of the caregiver endpoint; it should be neutral enough that the patient pays attention to the doctor, not a cluttered bookshelf in the background. 

“You want to make sure that whatever the patients are seeing behind the provider is a good image for your system,” Shpilberg says. “Sometimes that space is used for branding or education.”

Acoustic issues. There are two issues to consider in telehealth regarding acoustics: privacy and clarity. Privacy can be addressed by making sure the door to the space, whether it’s a patient endpoint or caregiver endpoint, can be securely closed and that it blocks sound. 

“It’s about making the patient feel like they can share information privately,” says Lewis, who also is a member of the HGRC. “Doors can be the weak point with acoustics, so perhaps you shouldn’t locate the door on a busy corridor — perhaps around a corner is better. Simple things like that can add to the feeling of privacy and make the patient more comfortable.”

Acoustic clarity results from a combination of the design and construction of the room and the technology used by the telehealth system. The designers of the dedicated telehealth spaces at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital included acoustic paneling on the walls to optimize the acoustics, Ruschman says. 

Getting technology right

The heart of a telehealth system is the technology that connects the two or more remote participants. Getting that technology right can make the difference between success and failure.

Every telehealth system incorporates a monitor — or multiple monitors — of some type, and monitor technology is constantly advancing. However, putting the monitor in the right place and at the right angle is essential regardless of how advanced the monitor is. The screen should be installed so the patient can comfortably look straight on to the care provider, as if they were in the room. “You want the monitor at eye level, as if the provider were sitting right in front of you,” Shpilberg says. “You want to make it feel as real as possible.”

The position of the camera that is capturing the image — on both sides of the interaction — is equally essential, whether the camera is separate from the monitor or integrated. 

“There was a fascinating study done in 2007 by Tam and colleagues that looked at gaze angle, and at 7 degrees there was a perception that the person was happier, warmer, more approachable, more interested,” Taylor says. “At 15 degrees, it’s starting to look down, and the perception was somebody was sad, depressed, or timid or hiding something. So, imagine a behavioral health visit where just the angle of the camera gives you a different perception of what’s happening with that person.”

Another technological aspect of the camera that is important is whether the caregiver can control the camera at the patient endpoint, which allows them to zoom in on a particular part of the patient. 

“The remote camera control is one of the bigger challenges,” Ruschman says. “The far-end camera controls are really important to our clinicians, because they want to pan and tilt and zoom in and out. This lets them see the nonverbal cues.”

As with the camera, getting the microphone and speaker set up correctly is essential. The microphone built into monitors may be good enough for normal Zoom meetings, but Arkwright recommends a separate external microphone for better quality audio. Similarly, he recommends separate speakers — or even noise-canceling headphones — to maximize sound quality.

At the Liberty Campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, separate speakers and microphones are mounted above the patient beds for maximum audio clarity, Ruschman says. But they’re working on a new health care facility, and they may integrate the audio equipment into the monitor because that technology has improved, she adds.

All telehealth systems rely on a strong internet connection. In some cases, Wi-Fi is good enough, users say, but a wired connection is always more reliable.

“We prefer to use hardwired where we can,” Ruschman says. “But most of our telehealth carts run on Wi-Fi. So, we train folks on how to get a hardwired connection, but we’ve found that usually the carts run pretty well on Wi-Fi.”

Ready for change

The facilities issues surrounding telehealth are complex. The key, those involved say, is building spaces that can accommodate today’s technology while being prepared for it to change.

Healthcare Design Q&A with Ballinger’s Louis Meilink

Ballinger Senior Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., FAIA, FACHA, ACHE was interviewed by Healthcare Design magazine about how rapidly evolving technology is impacting the planning and design of healthcare environments. He will present “The Spectrum of Technologies: The Current and Future State of Healthcare” with Ballinger Principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP at this year’s HCD Virtual conference.

Link to interview

Maternity Center Offers Privacy and Distancing to All

Local news station NY1 covered the opening of the NewYork-Presbyterian Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns, a 246,500 SF hospital within the David H. Koch Center.

Excerpted from NY1:

Inside the new Alexandra Cohen Hospital for Women and Newborns it’s all about care and comfort.

Dr. Laura Riley offered an exclusive look inside the new facility at New York Presbyterian David H. Koch Center which features 75 all-private antepartum and postpartum rooms which hospital administrators realized would be a benefit to treatment when the pandemic hit as the project neared its completion.

“We realized that this space is going to be even better for us because with the pandemic we needed women to have private rooms,” said Dr. Riley, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

It’s a feature moms-to-be like Lucy Bai say will provide some peace of mind when she delivers her baby, knowing that social distancing is incorporated into the design.

“I think it’s definitely put me at ease now a little bit more than it did before because we do know a little bit more about this virus” said Bai. “We do know that wearing masks are effective. I’ll be wearing a mask. I know the doctors and nurses will be wearing a mask,” she said.

Families whose babies are being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit will also have their privacy. Riley says everything is state of the art to give mom and baby the best start.

“Having that private space from the time that you come in to the time that you leave I think is really special, it also allows us to really personalize the care” said Riley.

And now with triple the space currently available at the hospital, administrators expect to handle around seven thousand births per year once the center opens on Sunday.

Patient-Centric Design

The May-June issue of Architectural Products includes a feature on trends in healthcare design. A two-page spread about the NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center describes the patient-centric design elements that contribute to a soothing experience, including a consistent materials palette and clear wayfinding.

The project was designed through a collaboration between Ballinger, HOK, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

ArchProd

Pro Bono Work Featured in Context

The spring 2020 issue of Context, AIA Philadelphia’s quarterly publication, includes a profile of CoLab Philadelphia. Ballinger was part of a volunteer team organized by the Community Design Collaborative that converted an airstream trailer into a mobile healthcare outreach tool. Recently the trailer was used as a mobile COVID-19 testing site.

Read more

Christina Grimes Interviewed on the Role of Architects in a COVID-19 World

How can architects play a role in meeting the urgent demands of the COVID-19 pandemic? Ballinger Associate Principal and Director of Healthcare Planning, Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED BD+ C, EDAC, ACHA, was interviewed by PlanPhilly, a reporting project of the public media organization WHYY, about remaking spaces for our new socially distanced lives.

Read the full article on WHYY Philadelphia

University of Maryland Baltimore County Project Featured in Context Magazine

Ballinger’s Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building at the University of Maryland Baltimore County was featured in the Spring 2020 issue of Context, a quarterly magazine published by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The issue is dedicated to the concept of collaboration.

The design profile focuses on the collaboration between UMBC, Ballinger and Volkan Alkanoglu, the artist responsible for “In Flight”, a dynamic installation in the building commons.

Read more here

Penn Medicine Radnor displayed in Architecture for Health Showcase

The Architecture for Health Showcase, organized by the American Hospital Association, the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), the American Institute for Architects (AIA), and the Academy of Architecture for Health, highlights current healthcare design and construction projects.

Ballinger’s design for Penn Medicine Radnor, a new ambulatory care center scheduled to open this month, is among this year’s featured projects.

View the display http://archshowcase.org/project/penn-medicine-radnor/

Fabulous Fascitelli Engineering Center at URI

Architecture critic William Morgan reviewed the University of Rhode Island’s Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, designed and engineered by Ballinger.

Excerpted from GoLocalProv:

The University of Rhode Island’s Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering handsomely demonstrates that bold new architecture is not just the purview of Ivy League schools and their private brethren like RISD and MIT.

Colleges and universities can be the places to view the latest work of starchitects. Institutions like Yale, Princeton, and MIT have become architectural petting zoos, with strutting displays of egotecture.

State schools are often less likely to be laboratories of avant-garde architecture. Yet public universities–the Michigans, Ohio States, Californias–are also commissioning notable design.

New England may be the incubator of higher education in this country, but architecturally our state universities have lagged somewhat behind. The $125,000 million Fascitelli Center demonstrates that that is changing.

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for example, New England’s only public architecture school moved into the first academic building in the United States made of cross-laminated-timber, designed by Leers Weinzapfel, while the business school just opened an innovation hub by Bjarke Ingels Group, one of the world’s most daring firms.

URI’s engineering program, once scattered across the campus in a various structures is now housed in one striking 190,000 square feet steel and glass structure that has become the center of gravity for the Kingston school.

The L-shaped, five-story engineering building is in marked contrast to the rest of the campus. Except for the attractive Westerly granite structures in classic post-Civil-War-state-college style surrounding the common, URI’s design identity has been undistinguished.

In part because of a new master plan by Ballinger, architects of the engineering building, works like the Wellness & Fitness Center, an imaginative remake by Kite Architects of a 1965 dining hall, are beginning to offset less inspiring projects such as the URI Foundation’s home, which looks like a bloated McMansion, one with rams horns capitals.

But the missteps of the past fade when one enters the sparkling, light-collecting Fascatelli Center. Its strong, clean lines and pristine glass and metal surfaces are the perfect metaphor for a research center that explores the physical aspects of our world from civic and environmental engineering to Nano-technology and cyber-security.

As Terry Steelman, senior principal at Ballinger and project designer, says, Fascitelli “propagates the notion of engineering as a bridge between liberal arts and the sciences.” A 210-foot-long truss that spans the ground floor reinforces the bridge theme.

Beneath that span is a transparent rectangle sheltering a student gathering space with a cafe. Because of the trussing system, this large open social center supports nothing above it, so one can see right through this open space to the other side.

Visible diagonal trusses show through the glass walls. This bracing system allows classrooms and research laboratories to be unencumbered with vertical columns.

Hallways along the exterior perimeters of the white-painted trusses provide the school’s most endearing feature: a hawk’s-eye view the campus and the South County countryside.

Philadelphia-based Ballinger has a reputation as designers of technically complex science buildings, and have worked at Penn, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and many other schools. There are no frills here, no gimmicks, just a focus on good design delivering the best educational engineering facilities.

Brown missed such an opportunity for a bold glazed design when Ballinger’s original proposal for the Sidney Frank Hall for Life Sciences was unfortunately clad in brick to appease College Hill neighbors more interested in a false notion of context than encouraging exceptional design.

At URI, however, the emphasis on natural light transforms what might have been just another science building. Architect Steelman is particularly proud of the glazing that wraps the fifth floor. This unitized curtain wall has an acid-etched first surface and a white fret as the second surface. Light filtered through this scrim is ever changing.

If we imagine the Fascitelli Center as a brilliant gesture at re-branding the university, it tells us loud and clear that URI is a place that will lead to, in the words of President David Dooley, “discoveries that we cannot even imagine today.”

GoLocal architecture critic Will Morgan has written extensively about university design and is the author of Collegiate Gothic: The Architecture of Rhodes College.

Main Line Today Highlights Radnor Development

Main Line Today published an article highlighting 155 Radnor, the Ballinger-designed workspace development led by Brandywine Realty Trust, and included remarks from Senior Principal Eric Swanson, AIA.

Excerpted from Main Line Today:

If you ask Jeff DeVuono why there hasn’t been any new office development in Radnor Township for nearly 30 years, he’ll provide a simple, clear answer: “It’s not a lack of interest in developing office space, it’s a lack of available land.”

The Brandywine Realty Trust executive vice president and senior managing director for Pennsylvania understands that, when it comes to Main Line real estate, it doesn’t get any better—or more crowded—than Radnor. But as a key component on the Brandywine team for 155 Radnor, DeVuono is pretty excited about the project, which is set to debut later this year with 145,000 square feet of rentable space, plus a luxury hotel. “If you look at the statistics, Radnor is the only market in the Pennsylvania suburbs that has single-digit vacancies,” he says.

The new development is part of the 26.6-acre Penn Medicine campus, which is also a Brandywine venture. Located on King of Prussia Road, it’s convenient to the Route 100 SEPTA light-rail and Paoli/Thorndale lines, and within easy driving distance of the Blue Route and Schuylkill Expressway. Throw in the robust retail climate in the area—plus housing and school options that are among the best in the region—and the new complex has one of the better addresses around. “It’s also where decision-makers live,” DeVuono says or Radnor’s impressive roster of residents.

Satisfying one of real estate’s biggest needs—location—155 Radnor also has a substantial advantage in terms of its design, which was helmed by Philadelphia architecture firm Ballinger. It emphasizes productivity, quality of life and the ability to feel comfortable in the workplace. The latter has become an increasing necessity as businesses devote more time and resources to attracting and retaining talent. DeVuono likens the process for new employees to the college search his children are undertaking. “They go on a campus and they don’t know what they like about it, but they want to be there,” he says.

Inside, the 155 Radnor complex will feature high ceilings, large windows, attractive views and open spaces. Outside will feature the same walking paths, outdoor seating, biking/walking trails, work areas and gardens that have become so popular with residential and commercial developments. It’s no longer enough to have a nice chair. Workplaces need to be comfortable and pleasing, or their employees won’t want to be there. “Everything is about the live-work-play environment,” DeVuono says. “People also want to stay healthy and connected.”

Eric Swanson is the lead architect on the 155 Radnor project. “You don’t know what Biophilia is?” he poses “It’s the theory that all of us humans, because of our long evolution, have an innate affinity for nature. People in health care understand the benefits of nature in healing and well-being.”

Since 155 Radnor is part of the Penn Medicine campus, it makes sense to give it a look that helps those who work there integrate more easily with their natural surroundings. That’s why the building will be primarily glass, and make use of a parking garage rather than acres of lots to maximize green space. There will be plenty of room to roam, meet, eat and think outdoors—a sure benefit in the warmer months when the urge to spend time in the sun increases.

Such designs are a break from the norm established in the last two decades, which favored emphasizing interior congregating places. Although there will be plenty of productive space inside for collaboration, there will always be an opportunity to enjoy some natural light and views of nature.

“The modern workforce is looking for these amenities,” says Swanson, who’s been with Ballinger for 35 years. “If you look at the campuses for Apple and tech companies out West, they attract talent by being good places to work, but also by providing ways to take breaks from work, without having to leave the area.”

Those who work at 155 Radnor won’t have much use for the hotel, but the property will fill a need for the companies inside the development, along with others in the area. “Everything is about the live-work-play environment—and the hotel is part of that,” says DeVuono, who expects several different tenants in 155 Radnor.

The first floor is somewhat adaptable to the needs of a company, while the other three are more set in their layout. There will be no retail component to the building, which is a function partly of the amount of offerings close by. It’s also due to the fact that Brandywine Realty Trust doesn’t want to lock itself into a particular formula that may not allow for flexibility later. “We want a physical space and infrastructure that can adapt to future needs,” DeVuono says.

Brandywine has focused on making sure the bones of the building will be as modern as possible—and that includes power, water and HVAC infrastructure. It should come as no surprise that Brandywine is labeling 155 Radnor a “trophy class” property—a building that offers the broadest amenity base. And while that may sound like a somewhat arbitrary appellation, it’s one the new folks in the game can claim as they move the design model forward.

Design that Inspires a “Wow”

Technical.ly Philly writer Nicole Forrester profiled Linode’s headquarters, located in Old City Philadelphia. Ballinger completed the award-winning adaptive reuse project in 2018.

Excerpted from Technical.ly Philly:
In the heart of Old City, walking into Linode’s headquarters inspires a “Wow.” With soaring ceilings, marble floors, and a modern LED chandelier to pull it all together, it’s clear the cloud hosting company aimed to make a statement.

Linode Headquarters

Linode is a unique player in the tech scene. The cloud hosting company has emerged as a popular alternative to AWS, competing not from Silicon Valley, but right here in Philly. Its key differentiator: a highly trained in-house support team, where customers can talk to a real person 24/7. It’s one of the few companies in the world that invests in support in this manner, and customers love it for it — to the tune of over $100 million in yearly revenue.

Such an impressive stat might inspire a design aesthetic of mahogany and leather, but for Linode, the aim was to create a space that reflected the ethos of the open source technology it’s built from. Restoring the old Corn Exchange Building was a costly and time consuming undertaking, but CEO Chris Aker felt like it was the right way to move into Philly, as he told Technical.ly in 2018.

“So much of what we do as a company is intangible,” he said. “It’s bits flying through wires. It’s electrons. It’s magnetic fields on spinning rust, or in our case, on SSDs. This is something tangible.”

Open floor plans allow employees to rotate their desks easily as project teams shift. Glass walls and doors promote transparency and let the light fill up the whole space. On the flip side, there’s a functioning library with a real sliding ladder on the third floor, and the bank vault in the basement is now a meeting room. This blend of old and new is the core of Linode’s style.

The building has and is surrounded by a rich history. For Linode’s employees, that means eating lunch next door in the Betsy Ross House courtyard, or walking past where Ben Franklin is buried on the way to work.

“The American Revolution and the [advancement] of democracy has connection to the mission Chris built this company on,” said Michelle Berg, people operations generalist, referring to the democratization of the internet and cloud services’ contribution to that. “That is a really inspiring part of the environment here.”

There’s also more recent history. Formerly Linode HQ was the “Real World MTV” house, and just this past summer while filming for “Queer Eye,” Karamo Brown visited the office.

LinodeLinode’s previous office couldn’t have been more different. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, the space had previously been residential houses, so the offices were made of many small rooms.

Berg’s first week at the company was during the move to the new HQ. She said employees were so excited about the new building, many showed up before it was ready, bringing their own chairs or perching wherever they felt comfortable. The new office wasn’t just an upgrade in space, but a shift to being a Philly company. Located right on N3rd Street, rebranded by the city in 2014, it’s the most evident symbol of the growing tech community.

As such, Linode HQ hosts numerous community events throughout the year. From meetups to weekend workshops to beer gardens in the parking lot, there’s a tremendous amount of energy within the Philly tech community that flows through events sponsored by Linode.

After about a year and half, Linode has already begun work on an expansion. It’s still largely under wraps, but what Berg can share is that “it’s indicative of the amazing growth that we’ve had over the last two years.”

Wellness by Design

The Philadelphia Business Journal profiled 155 Radnor, a new workspace designed by Ballinger and developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, and highlighted the release of its ultra-high definition renderings.

Excerpted from Philadelphia Business Journal:

Brandywine Realty Trust enlisted Ballinger, a Philadelphia architectural firm, to design 155 Radnor, a proposed 145,000-square-foot office building that will be part of a new campus off King of Prussia Road in Radnor that is anchored by the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Radnor officials signed off in October on the final subdivision plan for that campus, which is underway with the development of Penn Medicine’s new $200 million medical facility. A hotel and 155 Radnor are part of those plans.

While the scope of the overall project isn’t new, Brandywine has released a series of renderings depicting 155 Radnor and some additional details about its design.

This will be the first new office building to be constructed in Radnor in three decades and Brandywine, which is the dominant landlord in the office submarket, expects to pre-lease the bulk of it before breaking ground.

While the design incorporates amenities that have become common in office buildings such as a conference center, courtyards, patios and gaming areas, 155 Radnor also focuses heavily on its natural surroundings will include landscaped grounds that have more than 250 trees, a seasonal micro farm, two-foot-tall wildflower meadows, and three rain gardens that will serve as a stormwater management system.

Brandywine (NYSE: BDN) will also seek to include several features that aim to make the building healthy and meet wellness certification.

Aside from 155 Radnor, Brandywine has two other proposed office buildings in the in the suburbs including Metroplex Two, a 280,000-square-foot structure in Plymouth Meeting and 650 Park Ave., a 100,000-square-foot building in King of Prussia.

Ballinger 4 Billion Boom

Three new Ballinger projects, Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital’s expansion, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s King of Prussia hospital, and Grand View Health’s new patient care building, were highlighted by the Philadelphia Business Journal in an article posted on November 1.

The article, titled “$4 Billion Boom,” describes the Philadelphia region’s current explosion in hospital construction and explains how a crop of new healthcare projects will create thousands of jobs in construction and healthcare. The work represents a shift to more outpatient settings and shortened inpatient stays, as well as the role of the consumer in selecting healthcare providers and facilities.

Link to article in the Philadelphia Business Journal

A. James Clark Hall Named a 2019 “Pupil Pleasing Design”

World Architecture News (WAN) recently named Ballinger project A. James Clark Hall to their list of “Pupil Pleasing Designs” in the education category for 2019.

Clark Hall

The 184,000 SF flagship building for the University of Maryland’s School of Engineering was recognized by WAN for fostering broad interdisciplinary convergence in a dynamic innovation environment.

World Architecture News is the editorial home of the WAN awards, an annual program that showcases projects from around the world and provides a forum to celebrate design excellence.

Full List of the 2019 Pupil Pleasing Designs

Linode featured in Context Magazine

Linode Headquarters  was featured in the summer issue of Context, a quarterly magazine published by the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The adaptive reuse project transformed a historic bank into a new headquarters for the growing cloud hosting company. Ballinger led the renovation of the 22,300 SF building, retaining character-defining features while promoting workplace collaboration through ubiquitous transparency and a variety of collaboration spaces. The ground floor banking hall was transformed into a contemporary hub for gatherings and special events.
Link to article

Science + Engineering Hall Profiled by George Washington University

Ballinger’s Science + Engineering Hall was the subject of a profile by George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

Excerpted from SEAS website:

First-time visitors to GW’s new Science and Engineering Hall (SEH) push open the doors at any one of its entrances and are immediately struck by the light-filled and open commons spaces. And when they glance down to the atrium below—which they always do—they can’t help but notice the vibrant display of its green wall, one of the building’s three. And then, as they start to make their way through the building, they usually do a double-take at the glass walls, designed to be written on and covered with equations, lines of computer code, or simple lists of processes and tasks.

What most impresses them, however, are the labs and the classrooms—the spaces where SEAS students and faculty teach and learn, discover and invent. These are the spaces where we work, and the new SEH is changing the way we do that. In the process, it is proving to be exactly what we expected it to be: the enabler of our ambitions.

Research

Some say that “seeing is believing.” And it’s true that being able to see the gleaming, new, state-of-the-art, eight-story building standing at the intersection of 22nd and H Streets certainly helps one understand the myriad new research possibilities that the SEH creates for SEAS faculty. No one sees the possibilities more clearly than the researchers themselves and the aspiring faculty candidates we meet each semester who are competing for a chance to teach and research in the SEH.

Even during the building’s planning and construction phases, the SEH was a powerful magnet, drawing in the talented and dedicated faculty SEAS has recruited recently. These are assistant, associate, and full professors who saw the possibilities for their research to flourish at GW and chose to start their careers here, or leave very well established labs at other universities, to work alongside new colleagues in the SEH.

With access to the state-of-the-art core facilities—the high bay, nanofabrication lab, and microscopy suite—and a host of other labs, these recently recruited faculty are building thriving research programs and driving record research success for SEAS.

Zhenyu Li in lab with studentsAssistant Professor Zhenyu Li, a member of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty, received a four-year, $2 million National Institutes of Health research grant this past fall to develop ambulatory sensor arrays to monitor children with asthma. He will work on this highly innovative project with colleagues in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Children’s National Medical Center. Using the building’s ultraclean nanofabrication lab, Dr. Li will be able to design, build, and test these and other sensors on site, something previously impossible for GW researchers. Less time(and frustration) spent working at outside facilities means more time and faster turnaround for Dr. Li’s research.

Like Dr. Li, Assistant Professor Volker Sorger of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering also is prospering in the SEH nanofabrication lab. Dr. Sorger studies photonics, which is optics integrated on a chip, to create the nanoscale chips necessary to develop computers that will operate on light rather than electronics.

Professor Sorger in his nanotechnology labAs a doctoral student, he was part of a University of California-Berkley team that used a technique called plasmonics to create the world’s smallest semiconductor laser, and he is continuing that research here at SEAS. His efforts have been very fruitful. In just over 16 months, he has won three Air Force Office of Scientific Research grants—including a prestigious Young Investigator Program award—and a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. Together, these grants total more than $2 million.

Associate Professor Lijie Grace Zhang studies novel 3D bioprinting techniques to help advance the development of tissue and organ replacements. Being able to regenerate complex tissues, such as vascularized bone, cartilage, and muscle, is one of the current obstacles researchers face to creating human organs using 3D printers. This is where Dr. Zhang’s highly innovative research is making its mark: in 2014 she received a five-year, $2.2 million Director’s New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH awards these very prestigious grants to support unusually creative researchers early in their careers.

Dr. Zhang’s colleague in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Dr. Kausik Sarkar, stands to benefit greatly from the SEH microscopy, or imaging, suite. A full professor, he conducts research on ultrasound imaging, drug delivery and therapy, and high-fidelity simulation of blood rheology. In addition to his existing grants from the NSF and NIH, Dr. Sarkar won a four-year, $1.2 million R01 grant last fall from the NIH. He and his colleagues will study ultrasound imaging and the delivery of anticancer drugs to prostate cancer tissues.

A number of other recently recruited SEAS faculty do not conduct their research in the SEH core lab facilities but profit from the building’s other lab spaces or simply from being able to collaborate more easily with their SEAS colleagues, now that the school’s six departments are housed under one roof.

Instead of a six-block walk across campus to visit SEAS faculty from other departments, the faculty of the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering now take the stairs or elevators to collaborate with them. The accomplishments of two of the department’s more recent hires, Assistant Professor David Broniatowski and Assistant Professor Zoe Szajnfarber, also demonstrate the record research success that SEAS is enjoying in the new SEH. Dr. Broniatowski recently received a $1.5 million R01 grant from the NIH’s National Institutes of General Medical Sciences for his survey research on attitudes about getting vaccinated, and Dr. Szajnfarber was most recently awarded a nearly $1 million INSPIRE grant from NSF. INSPIRE is a special grant that supports highly interdisciplinary research that has unusual transformative potential.

Photo of the high bay in the science and engineering hall
Enrollment

New faculty are not alone in understanding the benefits the SEH brings to engineering at GW. Prospective students seem to understand it, too.

Undergraduate enrollment has risen 50 percent over the past six years. As of fall 2015, it stood at 880 students, with particularly strong growth in our computer science, biomedical engineering, and mechanical engineering programs. And we are particularly proud that 38 percent of our undergraduate students are female, almost twice the national average for engineering schools.

Student Studying in the SEHSystems engineering, the school’s newest undergraduate program, also has shown remarkable growth, increasing from approximately 20 to 120 students in just five years. With the large number of engineering consulting firms in the Washington, DC-Metro area, job prospects for these students is proving to be excellent.

At the graduate level, enrollment is also very strong and will continue to grow as we add new online degrees in our professional engineering program. The first of these, a doctor of engineering degree in engineering management, was initiated in August 2015; by summer 2016 we anticipate an enrollment of 100 working professionals. To meet the strong need, particularly in the US, for biomedical engineering professionals who understand the regulatory process and can advance medical device and imaging diagnostics and therapies to market, we have created a second new program, a master of engineering in regulatory biomedical engineering. This program—which draws on faculty in SEAS and in GW’s medical, public health, and law schools—started in spring 2016 and already is off to a good start. It is a truly interdisciplinary degree program with enormous potential, not just locally, but nationally and internationally.

Fundraising

If success, in fact, breeds success, then the SEH also should help attract new investment in SEAS. The numbers suggest that this already is happening, that the SEH is acting as a beacon to do just that.

SEAS has achieved record fundraising levels in the last six years, the period after the university’s announcement of its commitment to build the SEH. Funds raised by the school in fiscal year 2015 were more than quadruple those raised in fiscal year 2010, and the trend shows a steady increase throughout the six-year period. The school also far surpassed what it achieved in the previous six-year period, fiscal years 2004 through 2009. Compared to that period, SEAS nearly tripled its fundraising during the current six-year period.

The new funds make possible a whole range of investment by the school—investments in new faculty, student scholarships and activities, research equipment, new academic programs, and more.

Endowed professorships are a particularly important investment, because they play a crucial role in attracting leaders who can build nationally recognized education and research programs. Through the generosity of our donors, SEAS was fortunate enough to establish two endowed professorships in 2014 and 2015, and recruit internationally recognized scholars to the faculty.

Ahmed Louri teaching in a class roomIn January 2015, Dr. Igor Efimov joined SEAS as the Alisann and Terry Collins Professor and chair of the new Department of Biomedical Engineering. In September 2015, the new chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Ahmed Louri, was installed as the David and Marilyn Karlgaard Professor.

The combination of an endowed professorship and the research facilities of the SEH creates a powerful set of incentives to be able to offer faculty candidates, and they give SEAS the chance to compete with the very best universities in recruiting the very best faculty.

Success

The SEH is not the crowning achievement of our work here at SEAS. It’s really more of a launch pad of sorts, an engineering achievement in its own right that enables us to reach heights we otherwise couldn’t reach. Or maybe it’s better conceived of as a command module—the control center and living quarters—for intrepid engineers and computer scientists on a voyage of discovery. Either way, it changes the way we work and opens the door for a stunning number of discoveries along the way. And for that, we celebrate our new, amazing, versatile SEH, the enabler of our ambitions.

Link to article

Linode Headquarters featured in Preservation magazine

The spring issue of Preservation magazine includes a piece about Ballinger’s recent historic preservation and adaptive reuse project, Linode Headquarters.

The Philadelphia landmark, known for its neoclassical style and history as a former MTV Real World house, was built for the Union Bank of Philadelphia in 1902.

Linode, a growing cloud hosting company, chose the historic Philadelphia building as their new headquarters and selected Ballinger to renovate the 22,300 SF space.

The renovation resulted in an open, authentic, transparent workspace that supports Linode’s efforts to attract and retail talent. Ballinger successfully assisted Linode in the approval of Federal Historic Preservation Tax credits, allowing Linode to apply 20% of the renovation cost, including construction and soft costs, to their tax liability.

Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, is quoted in the piece, reflecting on her passion for the project. “I love the idea of the building having a new life with a completely different group of people.” Published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the magazine celebrates historic places through in-depth features, personal essays, and vibrant photography.

Link to article

A. James Clark Hall featured in Context

Ballinger’s A. James Clark Hall at the University of Maryland, College Park was featured in the spring issue of Context, a quarterly magazine published by the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA.

The 184,000 SF Clark Hall facilitates world class learning and discovery by bringing together students and faculty across the spectrum of engineering disciplines into a vibrant innovation environment. A “working commons” promotes student team-based collaboration, and flexible, transparent research laboratories enable world class convergent bioengineering research. In addition to active learning classrooms and dynamic laboratory environments, the inclusion of the Leidos Innovation Lab and Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices results in a unique co-mingling of education and entrepreneurship that facilitates the transition of research from the lab to the marketplace.

View the article

From Light-Filled Factories to Light-Filled Offices

Ballinger is one of the oldest continuously practicing architecture and engineering firms in the United States. Founded in Philadelphia in 1878, the history of the practice is intertwined with the history of the city. Ballinger first gained a reputation as an innovator in the 1920s with its design of a superspan, sawtooth roof. By allowing natural light to penetrate, the roof led to increased production and interior mobility at many industrial plants built during that era.

One of the firm’s significant clients at that time was the Budd Company. Ballinger was the architect of the Budd Red Lion manufacturing plant in North Philadelphia. A Philadelphia icon, the plant was the birthplace of the stainless steel train and steel-framed automobile body.

Decades later, Ballinger returned to the site to design corporate offices for the Temple University Health System. The space evokes the stability of the industrial revolution-era architecture but re-focuses attention to the future through the overlay of bold interior design. The adaptive reuse project includes a 4-story office building connected to a one-story employee gathering and collaboration space with conference center and cafeteria. A focus of the space planning effort was to create an open office environment with direct access to natural light by placing enclosed offices to one side of the building. The boardroom space takes advantage of additional rooftop clerestory monitors to maximize natural light.

Read more about the riveting history of the Budd Company here.

NewYork-Presbyterian ambulatory care center cover story in Healthcare Design

Healthcare Design magazine published a cover story about the 740,000 SF NewYork-Presbyterian David H. Koch Center. The article, titled “Vision Realized,” was written by Anne DiNardo about the unique collaboration that resulted in NewYork-Presbyterian’s award-winning ambulatory care center.

Ballinger Associate Principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP is quoted in the article, describing the role-playing workshops Ballinger organized to engage stakeholders. With 3D-printed models, users were able to explore room layouts and equipment arrangements. “Using the models was a simple but effective way to bring the rooms to life, building excitement for the project with stakeholders and involving them early on in key design decisions.”

The project was a collaboration among Ballinger, HOK and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

Link to article

 

Ballinger expert interviewed on WHYY’s The Pulse

The latest episode of WHYY’s health and science program, The Pulse, includes a segment on hospital design, featuring Ballinger associate principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP. Host Maiken Scott interviewed Erin about why healthcare facilities can be confusing, and the tools architects use to improve wayfinding and increase efficiency. They also explored the themes of flexibility and warmth in healthcare environments. “A current and modern hospital should send a message that it’s a welcoming place – a place to heal, rather than a place to be sick,” Erin explained.

The Pulse is recorded at WHYY in Philadelphia and broadcasts on over 50 local NPR stations nationwide.

Listen to the full episode

Ballinger Named to Distinguished ARCHITECT 50

Each year, ARCHITECT magazine conducts an in-depth survey to produce a qualitative ranking of the top 50 architecture firms, focusing on the categories of business, sustainability and design. Based on a portfolio of built and unbuilt work and factors such as revenue, employee benefits and energy efficiency metrics, Ballinger was ranked #43 overall. Ballinger’s commitment to energy-efficient design was recognized with a rank of 36 in the sustainability category.
Link to full survey results

Reading HealthPlex October cover story in Healthcare Design

Healthcare Design magazine published a cover story about the Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical + Patient Care. The article, titled “Shaped by Nature,” was written by Ballinger principal Louis Meilink, AIA, ACHA, ACHE and associate principal Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC. It describes how a new surgical platform for Tower Health resulted in an 88,000 SF roof garden, one of the largest in the US.

Ballinger provided architecture, engineering and interior design services for the 476,000 SF hospital, which opened in 2017. The project is one of several Ballinger has designed for the hospital system, now called Tower Health, over the past 35 years.

Healthcare Design magazine is a monthly publication covering architecture, interior design, facility planning, healthcare engineering and construction, relevant research, and the most recent projects opening their doors.

Link to article

Puentes de Salud featured in Context

Ballinger’s Puentes de Salud project was featured in the fall issue of Context, a quarterly magazine published by the Philadelphia chapter of the AIA. The issue explores the social inequity embedded in Philadelphia’s urban environment. Puentes de Salud is a unique clinic that offers healthcare and educational programs for the city’s rapidly growing Latino immigrant population. Ballinger provided pro-bono architectural and engineering services for the 7,000 SF clinic.

Link to article

Open-Door Planning for Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital’s Expansion

Penn Medicine’s internal newsletter, System News, published an update on the evolution of Chester County Hospital since it became a member of Penn Medicine, highlighting the major expansion project currently under construction.

Ballinger designed the expansion, due to open in 2020, with input from physicians and staff who will inhabit the new space. Ballinger principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE is quoted, “Chester County Hospital adopted an open-door policy for planning… the hospital engaged multiple stakeholders with innovative design techniques throughout the process.” Ballinger led planning workshops with 3D-printed models for rapid prototyping and consensus-building.

Ballinger pioneered the use of role-playing workshops with miniature models and now maintains over 250 pieces of equipment and furniture. Employing this technique allows for rapid exploration of layout variations to achieve the optimal solutions for clinicians and staff.

Link to article

NewYork-Presbyterian Sets the Bar for Contemporary Hospital Design

The David H. Koch Center at NewYork-Presbyterian appeared in the October issue of the Conde Nast publication Architectural Digest. The piece, written by Elizabeth Fazzare, focuses on innovations that improve the patient experience: “Prep rooms double as recovery rooms, providing continuity for patients and their companions. Hallways run along the perimeter, taking in sunshine and city views. And MRI facilities are above-ground, rather than relegated to the basement, as is usually the case,” she writes. Ballinger associate principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP, who was interviewed for the article, explains, “A lot of it is focused on reducing anxiety.”

Link to article

Ballinger featured in Philadelphia Magazine article on businesses committed to Philadelphia

Ballinger’s roots are securely planted in Philadelphia, having been established here in 1878. We started out designing the factories and maker spaces of the industrial revolution, and now Ballinger is at the forefront of design for the knowledge revolution. Today, our firm focuses on designing next-generation academic science and healthcare facilities as well as corporate workspaces.

Ballinger Principal Terry D. Steelman along with top executives of Comcast, Aramark, The Vanguard Group and others were interviewed for the Philadelphia Magazine article “11 CEOs on Why They Keep Their Businesses Headquartered in Philly.”

Click for article

All of Ballinger’s 200+ employees work out of one location in Philadelphia – the beautifully converted top floor of 833 Chestnut Street that once was the original Gimbel’s department store. It’s a large open space conducive to our collaborative work style with good light, high ceilings, and sweeping views of Old City and crane-filled Center City. It allows Ballinger to fulfill our mission of being a truly integrated architecture/engineering firm.

NewYork-Presbyterian’s David H. Koch Center Featured in Metropolis

The David H. Koch Center at NewYork-Presbyterian was featured in the September issue of Metropolis magazine. Writer Liz Stinson profiled the 740,000 SF ambulatory care center and its focus on the patient experience. She described the “patient-centered design choices at the finish and product scale: clinical rooms with sofas large enough to seat two, so family members can comfortably accompany patients; dimmable overhead fixtures that double as exam lighting, reducing clutter and the need for additional equipment.” The project, opened in 2018, was designed through a collaboration between Ballinger, HOK, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners.

Link to article

Telemedicine and the Future of Disruption

Well-trained and effective clinical staff are in high demand around the world. In the United States, primary care physicians are out-numbered 3:1 by specialists, leaving the neediest populations in remote areas without physicians to address chronic and primary care.  Staff at large institutions are increasingly asked to see patients in multiple locations across a number of campuses, stretching their time and resources.

Telemedicine presents an unprecedented opportunity to extend the reach of existing staff into rural and remote locations and prolong the careers of experienced nurses and physicians by reducing the physical demands of providing care. In their presentation to the European Healthcare Design Congress & Exhibition on June 11, “Telemedicine and the Future of Disruption”, Ballinger Principal Louis A. Meilink Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Senior Project Healthcare Planner, Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC explored the increasing implementation of telehealth technologies and ways in which space planning can evolve to support these changes.

The topic was in keeping with the theme of the 4th annual conference, “Utopia or dystopia? Visioning the future for health” focused on the effects of environmental changes and technological advancement on modern healthcare systems and how institutions and designers can adjust to take advantage of advances such as AI, remote and algorithmic diagnosis, nanotechnology, and virtual reality. Held in London, this year’s event was organized by Architects for Health and SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange and hosted by the Royal College of Physicians.

Link to presentation

Cooper University Health Care MD Anderson Cancer Center Oncology In-Patient Unit Wins IIDA Award

Ballinger’s design of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Oncology In-Patient Unit at Cooper University Health Care received a Design Award in the Healthcare (under 30,000 SF) category from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) PA|NJ|DE Chapter. The unit is designed to offer a clean, contemporary, calming and spacious feeling to patients, staff and families. Environmental graphics, illustrating flowers native to New Jersey, add touches of serene beauty to the space.

The annual Interior Design Awards competition recognizes outstanding interior environments designed by IIDA members in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. The award ceremony, held at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute, included a presentation and exhibit of project entries.

NewYork-Presbyterian’s Operating Room of the Future featured in The Wall Street Journal

NewYork-Presbyterian’s David H. Koch Center is home to cutting-edge technology and thoughtful design solutions. Healthcare journalist Laura Landro profiled the evolution of operating rooms for The Wall Street Journal and highlighted the state-of-the-art ORs designed by Ballinger.

The 740,000 SF David H. Koch Center, designed in collaboration with HOK, and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, opened in April 2018.

Link to article

 

 

Engineering News-Record profiles NewYork-Presbyterian’s David H. Koch Center

The recently opened David H. Koch Center at NewYork-Presbyterian is the subject of a profile by Tom Stabile in Engineering New-Record (ENR). The project was designed as a collaboration among Ballinger, HOK and Pei Cobb Freed. The article includes interviews with Ballinger associate principal Erin Nunes Cooper and other leaders from the design and engineering teams who took the project from concept to reality.

Link to article

Ballinger volunteers join the Philadelphia Future City Competition to sponsor creativity and engineering among local middle-school students

Ballinger participated in the annual Philadelphia Future City Competition, an educational engineering program for middle-school students to imagine, research, design, and build the cities of the future.

Over 100 volunteers from various institutions — Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Penn Medicine, and the University of Pennsylvania among them — gathered at Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor for the final competition on February 20th. Throughout the day, budding engineers in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades presented their detailed dioramas of future cities to judges — including Christopher Bratz, Christine Larsen, and Aaron Harrington of Ballinger.

The Future City Competition is part of a countrywide network of programs created to introduce young students to the engineering profession. An all-girl team from Great Valley Middle School’s 10th grade class was the proud recipient of the “Walter Ballinger Hope for the Future Award,” made possible by Ballinger’s financial contribution to the event.

Ballinger projects featured in Building Design + Construction

Three Ballinger projects were featured in a recent article published by Building Design + Construction magazine. In a survey of trends in the design of cancer research and treatment centers, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, NewYork-Presbyterian’s David H. Koch Center, and the MD Anderson Center Oncology In-Patient Unit at Cooper University Hospital were praised for their innovative approaches to cancer care.

Associate Principal and Senior Project Manager Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP, was extensively quoted regarding her expertise in the field. She emphasized Ballinger’s family- and patient-focused design approach, as well as her commitment to creating spaces capable of adapting to new healthcare technologies — all fundamental values to the development of the three named projects.

A photograph of the Ballinger-designed meditation pavilion, overlooking a garden and pond at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, accompanied the piece. As noted in the article, Ballinger remains at the forefront of adaptive design solutions for the research and treatment challenges of our time.

Link to Article

New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health among New Jersey’s “Must See” Building

USA Today, in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects, listed the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health at Rutgers University among 25 “must see” buildings in New Jersey.

The Ballinger-designed structure features health clinics, research labs, and educational spaces. It brings diverse teams of specialists together to find solutions to social issues related to nutrition and health. The building plan reflects this goal, providing a transparent environment where laboratories and open collaboration spaces coexist, thus creating a unified institute ready to address public, academic, research, and healthcare needs.

The list — part of an effort by USA Today and AIA chapters nationwide to identify the most significant buildings in the country —  also includes the Thomas A. Edison House in Glenmont and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Stuart Richardson House in Glen Ridge.

Link to Article

Pennovation Featured in Modern Steel Construction

Ballinger’s Chief Structural Engineer, Angela Fante, PE, SECB, LEED AP, wrote the cover story for this month’s Modern Steel Construction, published by the American Institute of Steel Construction. The article, “Centered on Innovation,” describes how Ballinger engineers brought to life the vision of design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS.  The building’s most striking feature is the dramatic ‘faceted façade’ at the north elevation, which had an immensely complex effect on the existing building frame.

Link to Article

“125 Stories” Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital

In celebration of its 125th anniversary, Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital released “125 Stories of Chester County Hospital,” an anthology of the men and women who contributed to the institution’s enduring legacy. As a partner to the hospital for over 20 years, Ballinger is proud of our role in its growth. We’re pleased to be featured in story number 125, highlighting the 250,000 SF expansion currently underway. It is the largest construction project in the hospital’s history and will propel it into the vanguard of 21st century healthcare.

Preview the book

B::Engaged Build Day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia

Last weekend, 20 Ballinger volunteers took part in a build day with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, an organization whose mission is to transform the city and the lives of its people by building and repairing homes for families in need.

Ballinger Principal, Eric Swanson, celebrated a successful day saying, “It was an honor to work with Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and be a part of their long history of good work for affordable housing.  I was proud to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Ballinger team brought to this day.”

The event was organized by Ballinger’s B::Engaged community engagement group. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to volunteer their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of Philadelphia.

Jake Shoemaker, Ballinger architect and B::Engaged volunteer said, “Working with Habitat for Humanity was a rewarding event that allowed us to give back directly to the Philadelphia community. This was a very positive experience, and the hard work turned out to be a great team building activity for my Ballinger colleagues. I’m hopeful that this will lead to more community outreach in the future, building upon everything that B::Engaged has already done.”

 

Ballinger’s Fon S. Wang Appointed to Mayor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation

Ballinger’s Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse, Fon S. Wang, AIA, LEED AP, was appointed to the Mayor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation. Philadelphia’s Historic Preservation Task Force was created in April 2017 to identify ways historic preservation can be a meaningful partner in the city’s growth. Philadelphia has the highest number of building parcels per square mile in the US but a lower than average number of historically designated buildings. Just 2.2% are locally designated as historic, compared to a 50-city average of 4.3%

As a member of the Task Force Subcommittee on Regulating Preservation Outcomes and a community representative for Chinatown, Fon will focus on review of regulations to facilitate growth while retaining what makes Philadelphia unique.

In addition to her roles as Director of Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse at Ballinger, Fon is a Board Member for the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, and a lecturer at PennDesign’s Historic Preservation Studio.

Ballinger’s Christina Grimes wins HCD 10 Team MVP Award

Senior Project Healthcare Planner Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC was named a winner of the HDC 10, an annual awards program organized by Healthcare Design magazine honoring contributions to the healthcare industry. She received the “Team MVP” Award for her work with Tower Health System and her role on the Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care. The “Team MVP” category recognizes individuals whose contribution to team projects proved invaluable. Christina accepted the award during the Healthcare Design Forum and is recognized in a special feature article in the September 2017 issue of Healthcare Design.

Link to article

Healthcare Facilities Management Covers Engagement Process at Tower Health System

Ballinger Senior Project Architect Robert P. Goss, Jr., AIA was interviewed for two pieces in the August issue of Healthcare Facilities Management. The article “Six steps for planning low-voltage systems” outlines a process for planning the advanced technology integration now required in hospital design.  Drawing on his experience working on the Reading Healthplex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care, Rob describes Ballinger’s user engagement process.

The sidebar article “User input and planning informs high-tech facility” dives deeper into the Reading HealthPlex process, highlighting the 60 user group meetings Ballinger conducted as part of the planning phase. 

Read the articles here and here.

Reading HealthPlex Selected as Finalist for Healthcare Design (HCD) Showcase

The Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care was a finalist in Healthcare Design (HCD) Magazine’s 2017 Healthcare Design Showcase. A jury made up of representatives of from HCD, the Center for Health Design, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) scored projects based on categories of innovation, community collaboration, aesthetics, and operational performance.

The project was published in the August issue of the magazine. Click here to view the publication.

Post-Occupancy Research Exhibited at European Healthcare Design Congress and SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange

As part of Ballinger’s commitment to designing facilities that optimize the healthcare experience for patients, families, and staff, our teams conduct post-occupancy evaluations (POE) on completed projects to assess and monitor how they are used. Particularly illuminating was a recent POE conducted on the new Lasko Tower at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital (PMCCH).

The research team, led by Ballinger Principal Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Senior Project Healthcare Planner Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, assessed how effective the inclusion of decentralized caregiver stations are toward improving staff and patient experience in the medical/surgical inpatient environment. By comparing four new floors of the tower, each with a unique layout featuring decentralized caregiver stations, to the hospital’s existing units which previously accommodated the same patient populations and were built with a single caregiver station, they were able to control for patient populations and consistent staff. The result was a study focused solely ¬on the physical environment.

The POE findings were strongly indicative of the benefits of decentralized caregiver stations. Patient and staff overall satisfaction scores increased by 113% in the new Lasko Tower units as compared to the pre-existing hospital units featuring central nursing cores. Sixty-six percent of staff felt that decentralized stations improved their ability to deliver quality patient care, and ninety-one percent of patients said that the stations improved the way they felt cared for in the new building. The decentralized stations resulted in reduced walking distances and increased patient time for staff, as well as improved fall rates and noise levels for patients. These results suggest an improved patient care environment.

The study was displayed at the 2017 European Healthcare Design Congress held at the Royal College of Physicians in London, UK, and published by SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange, a global media, publishing and research organization whose mission is improving human and planetary health.

Link to Poster

 

Post-Occupancy Evaluation White Paper Published by the American College of Healthcare Architects

A white paper by Ballinger principal Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Senior Healthcare Planner Debbie Phillips, AIA, ACHA, EDAC was published by the American College of Healthcare Architects and appeared in the Summer 2017 ACHA Quarterly Newsletter.

The Ballinger team conducted a post-occupancy evaluation at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital (PMCCH) comparing the recently completed Lasko Tower, designed by Ballinger, to a unit in the neighboring West Building.

Since the move from West Building to Lasko Tower, the hospital has seen significant improvements in HCAHPS and staff satisfaction. The results from this study informed Ballinger’s design for PMCCH’s next bed tower, currently under construction.

Link to white paper

CHOP Roberts Center for Pediatric Research Featured in Philadelphia Business Journal

Philadelphia Business Journal reporter Natalie Kostelni interviewed Ballinger Principal Terry Steelman, FAIA and Doug Carney, Senior Vice President of Facilities at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), about the opening of the new Roberts Center for Pediatric Research. The $275 million, 21-story tower is the first phase of CHOP’s new Schuylkill Avenue campus. Ballinger collaborated with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Cooper Robertson on the project, which includes the research tower, an outdoor plaza, parking, and a bridge to Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Trail. Reflecting on the response he’s received to the projects so far, Carney says, “Fortune favors the bold. I couldn’t be happier.”

Link to Article  

 

Quadruple Aim and the Importance of Place

MCDQuadruple Aim and the Importance of Place, an article by Ballinger’s Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, was published in the March/April 2017 issue of Medical Construction and Design Magazine. The article suggests that health networks and architects must act together to put forth a diversity of healthcare facility solutions, thereby delivering the right care, at the right time, with the right price, in the right place.

Read the full article.

Reading HealthPlex: Q&A with Senior Electrical Engineer Ben Medich

In January 2017, construction was completed on Tower Health System’s new Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical + Patient Care. At first glance, the Ballinger-designed 465,000 SF facility is notable for its 88,000 SF green roof, which serves to visually minimize the massive 115,000 SF operating platform footprint and provide patients with an environment that promotes healing. Equally important to patient experience, however, are the advanced systems employed by Ballinger’s engineers to ensure that the hospital is able to provide seamless care under any circumstances. We sat down with Ballinger Engineer on the project, Ben Medich, PE to learn about how the engineering team approached the unique challenges of this project:

What factors need to be considered when designing a power system for a hospital as large as the Reading HealthPlex?

BM: It’s crucial for all hospitals to have reliable power supplies in case of power outage. At Reading HealthPlex, everything from the technologically advanced machines in the surgical suites to the lights in the patient rooms are critically important to patient care. We drew from our previous hospital experience and also considered reliability strategies employed in data centers when designing this power platform.

What sort of solutions did you come up with?

BM: Our system employs fully-redundant UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) systems. Each UPS has N+1 flywheels for energy storage to back-up all of the lighting and receptacle power in the building and ensure no disruption to the medical equipment or patient care during a power outage. The systems are employed in conjunction with the paralleled backup-generators to provide both short-time ride-through of transients and intermediate-term power backup.

So what would happen if there was a power outage?

BM: Our design allows for 96-hours of on-site fuel storage for the generators. The system will function without interruption to the power of emergency and life-support systems. Even if the UPS units were not online, the power system would still meet The Joint Commission’s requirements for back-up power to critical and life safety systems within 10 seconds of power loss. This allows us to design the system without requiring the UPS units to have a UL 1008 listing, which is not available in large sizes.

In the event of a natural or man-made disaster that could impact the power supply, the hospital can continue to fulfill its commitment to emergency preparedness and patient safety.

The Pennovation Center: Q&A with Chief Structural Engineer Angela Fante

The 62,000 SF Pennovation Center is an incubator space developed by the University of Pennsylvania to foster tech start-ups.  Ballinger engineers worked hand-in-hand with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS Architects to transform a former DuPont paint testing facility into a flexible laboratory and co-working office space.  Building operations and tenant occupancy started in Fall 2016 with positive reviews from the design and engineering community and the building’s occupants.

We caught up with Ballinger’s Chief Structural Engineer, Angela Fante, PE, SECB, LEED AP.

One of the building’s most striking features is the dramatic faceted glass outcrop.  Can you tell us about what went in to engineering that?

ANGELA FANTE:  Through collaboration with the architect and University, we were able to meet an incredibly complex structural challenge with an elegant solution. The addition of the north elevation ‘faceted façade’ had an immensely complex effect on the existing building frame.

It is not structured with cantilevers, a misnomer many are giving the north extension’s structure.

Pennovation exterior photo

If not a cantilever, what is it?

AF:  Because the architectural design required maintaining the same horizontal banding depth across the existing to new addition interface, there wasn’t enough depth to accommodate the structure needed to cantilever the addition.  Instead, we broke the north elevation into seven individual existing column frame elevations. From there, we designed new diagonal ‘column props’ and horizontal floor strut/tie beams, which impose either a horizontal tension or compression on the existing frame, at different levels throughout the geometry of the façade.

The effect on the frame was a series of ‘pushes and pulls’ on the existing building structure, none of which it was originally designed for when it was constructed in 1954.  (In that era, engineers barely considered wind and earthquake loading).

3D view of “pitch bleacher” structure

 How are those “pushes and pulls” supported by the existing building frame?

AF:  Although the appearance of the geometry of the addition looks complex, the interface between the new and existing building boils down to 28 unique connection points (seven existing grid lines x four floor levels), each custom-detailed to develop and complete the load path from the new to the existing frame.  Once the tension or compression at each of the 28 nodes transfers to the existing north column line, the ‘dots’ of the load path are connected back through the structure down to the foundation.  New horizontal bracing in the plane of the floors was inserted within the existing building where required to transfer the horizontal force through the respective floor levels and then into the three vertical braced frame lines.  The vertical braced frames are strategically hidden within the exterior walls or exposed to view in the co-working areas, as part of the raw, industrial aesthetic.

At the base of the braced frames, the accumulated collection of these load terminates  in two-foot thick x 22’-long x full basement story height walls, ballasting the new structure against uplift and preventing the structure from lifting out of the ground.

It was like designing for the weight of 50 elephants pulling on the north face of the building.

Pennovation Center Achieves LEED Gold

Pennovation Center, a groundbreaking incubator space developed by the University of Pennsylvania, was certified LEED Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Ballinger served as structural and MEP engineer of record for the project.  Working hand-in-hand with design architect HWKN and architect-of-record KSS, Ballinger engineers helped transform a former DuPoint paint testing facility into the centerpiece of Pennovation Works, Penn’s innovation district.

View of room at PennovationThe design of the energy systems is high performance, but with a start-up developer’s sensibility.  A rooftop Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) unit with dual energy recovery wheels delivers dehumidified neutral air (63 degrees Fahrenheit) for ventilation of wet lab, dry lab and office work space without requiring any reheat.  Cooling is provided via Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) units in each space, and heating is via perimeter radiation powered by a prefabricated condensing boiler plant on the roof. According to Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP, “The system minimizes pre-investment – VRF units can be added as needed.  It is also extremely flexible and able to accommodate a wide range of space uses without costly system modification or additions.” Sustainability and flexibility align with the project goal: to create an atmosphere for collaboration and creativity, with a “cool factor” to attract innovators from diverse disciplines.

Evaluating the Benefits of Decentralized Stations Beyond Patient Visibility

Ballinger recently conducted a post-occupancy evaluation to assess how effective the inclusion of decentralized caregiver stations are toward improving staff and patient experience in the medical/surgical inpatient environment.

The research team focused on the Ballinger-designed Lasko Tower at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital that was completed in 2015 and utilized data and survey results to compare the new floors, each featuring decentralized caregiver stations to existing units which previously accommodated the same patient populations and were built with a single caregiver station and no decentralized stations.  By controlling for patient populations and consistent staff, the study focused on the physical environment. Its results support a strong case for the use of decentralized stations with benefits extending beyond patient visibility.

This research was published by the AIA AAH Academy Journal in an article written by Ballinger principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr. AIA, ACHA, ACHE and senior associate Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED BD+C, EDAC entitled “The decentralized station: More than just patient visibility”.

Link to Article

Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative Recognizes B::Engaged

“People need to look at philanthropic energies in two ways. Often they see how they are giving back, but firm leaders in particular need to appreciate that they get something in return. Their staff gets enlightenment and fulfillment that breeds esprit de corps. Leadership through philanthropic engagement strengthens interpersonal skills, decision-making, and growth. And the community as a whole benefits.” Terry D. Steelman, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, outlined the far-reaching benefits of Ballinger’s volunteer efforts, in an interview with the Community Design Collaborative. The Collaborative profiled B::Engaged, Ballinger’s community engagement group, in a recent post.

B::Engaged connects with and impacts the Philadelphia community through long-term commitments and short-term volunteer work. With a focus on design, B::Engaged is an opportunity for staff members to lend their skills to the surrounding community and gain a broader perspective while enriching the built and social fabric of our surroundings.

B::Engaged members participated in the recent Community Design Collaborative project, Making Connections: Conceptual Design for Under the Viaduct. Residents of a North Central Philadelphia neighborhood were reluctant to walk through dark, underutilized underpasses of a rail viaduct. The purpose of the project was to reimagine the underpasses as connectors, linking neighbors and amenities. The volunteer design team met with community groups and conducted research to develop design solutions to improve three underpasses.  The resulting report was used to generate funding to implement the improvements.

The Community Design Collaborative’s model is to provide pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, creating engaging volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raising awareness about the importance of design in revitalizing communities. Since 1991 they’ve matched communities with volunteer design professionals, to put their visions down on paper and advance to the next stage: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.

To read the Community Design Collaborative’s profile, click here.

Ballinger’s work featured in ‘Transformation By Design’ at the Center for Architecture and Design

The exhibition “Transformation By Design” is currently on display at Philadelphia’s Center for Architecture and Design. Organized around “Penn Connects,” the University of Pennsylvania campus master plan, the exhibition features selected projects form the past ten years. The program description reads: “With each project, Penn has sought to engage the highest caliber of architectural, landscape architectural, and engineering consultants, extending a tradition that combines continuous excellence in design and stewardship.”

Among the projects are the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a collaboration between Ballinger and Maki and Associates, and Pennovation Center, for which Ballinger provided structural and MEP engineering. The exhibition is on display through November 17. Principal Keith Mock spoke to the Philadelphia Business Journal about Penn Connects. Read the article here.

Tradeline: Hospital Expansion Inspires Workplace Redesign and Cultural Change

Tradeline published a report “Hospital Expansion Inspires Workplace Redesign and Cultural Change,” based on a talk by Douglas E. Carney, Senior Vice President of Facilities, Real Estate and Capital Programs for The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Ballinger’s Keith C.H. Mock, AIA and Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP. It describes the rigorous, research-based approach Ballinger employed, in partnership with CHOP, to redesign CHOP’s workspaces. The “Test of Change” informed the design of CHOP’s Schuylkill Avenue Phase 1, currently under construction.

Link to Article

 

Tradeline Report: Retrofit or Renovate?

Tradeline has published a report entitled “Penn Renovation Yields Class A Laboratory Space for Half the Cost of New Construction: Weighing the Cost/Benefit of Retrofit vs. Gut Renovation.”

The article was inspired by a Tradeline conference talk delivered by Ballinger’s Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP, and Eric Swanson, AIA, along with Perelman School of Medicine’s Eric Weckel, AIA, Executive Director for Space Planning and Operations. It presents the strategy, phased approach, and cost-saving steps behind the major renovation of Stemmler Hall, a 1970s research, classroom and administrative building in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Ballinger’s Jonathan Friedan is quoted: “When you just do system replacements, you can get good, but not optimal, energy reductions. But you also get people complaining, ‘We spent millions of dollars, and what did we get?’ They’re still in aged compartmentalized labs, and wishing instead that they were in the brand-new lab down the street. We didn’t want to retrofit Stemmler Hall’s systems without doing something transformative to the building.”

Link to Article

Ballinger’s design approach to interdisciplinary buildings featured in Tradeline Report

Can architecture create a culture of collaboration? Tradeline’s recent article “Transforming Organizational Culture through Building Design” explores the goals and challenges faced by Dr. Peter Gillies, Founding Director of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health (IFNH) at Rutgers University, as he launched the Institute and imagined an open environment that would foster such a culture.

Ballinger’s approach to interdisciplinary facility design fosters cross-discipline collaborations and emergent outcomes. Our design for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, opened in July 2015, reflects the ambitious goal of the barrier-breaking Institute: connect a wide range of disciplines to solve the childhood obesity epidemic. Co-located within the building are a student health clinic, a human performance lab, a nutrition research center, a healthy eating courtyard and a pre-school, as well as wet and dry labs, workspaces and outreach meeting spaces. An open stair integrates the building vertically and features New Jersey’s largest indoor living wall.

The article, based on a conference talk given by Ballinger principals Jeffrey S. French, FAIA and Craig S. Spangler, AIA, along with Dr. Gillies, also examines convergent environments at the University of Wisconsin and George Washington University, whose characteristics of transparency and visual access informed some of the IFNH design strategies.

Link to Article

VP Joe Biden Visits Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center

Kicking off the Obama Administration’s national initiative to find a cure for cancer, VP Joe Biden visited Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center yesterday. Ballinger engineering designed the Mechanical & Electrical systems for the Abramson Cancer Center research facilities located in the Smilow Center for Translational Research and the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the new South Tower.

Article Link

Ballinger Featured in Interior Design Best of Office

Ballinger’s renovation of 98,000 SF for a corporate client in Branchburg, New Jersey is featured in Interior Design’s hardcover publication “Best of Office.” A two-page spread describes Ballinger’s unique solutions for converting a warehouse into an engaging workplace.

With a foreword by Interior Design Editor-in-Chief, Cindy Allen, the book features inspiring office interiors from around the world.

The Wistar Institute Featured in Modern Steel Construction

Modern Steel Construction, published by the American Institute of Steel Construction, features the Wistar Institute’s Robert and Penny Fox Tower on its cover. Associate Principal Edward J. Zinski wrote an article for the December issue describing Ballinger’s unique solutions for this complex urban project.

The Robert and Penny Fox Tower satisfies the Institute’s need for state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research space and a stronger, more unified visual identity.

The project comprises a seven-story research tower, a new entrance leading to a public Forum, and a central utility plant. In addition to the design and engineering of the research building, Ballinger provided existing facility assessment, master planning, and programming to determine the best solution for Wistar.

Link to Article

Reading Hospital 7th Avenue Building Drone Footage


Focused on the patient/family experience and integration with the existing Hospital campus, the design of Reading Hospital’s new 465,000 SF 7th Avenue building turns the site and program challenges into opportunities for connectivity, enhanced green space and advanced medical care. Fully 72% of the project footprint is covered by an accessible green roof and part of a two-acre public garden. The change in grade of the sloping site provides a perfect opportunity to integrate the lower levels of the building with the topography. The large footprint – 110,000 SF dedicated to surgical services – is partially contained beneath the vast network of green spaces accessible to patients, visitors and staff. A patient tower rises from this landscaped plinth and connects to existing adjacent buildings to complete a major public circulation axis extending across the campus. The new facility maximizes daylighting and takes advantage of views of the neighboring public gardens and art museum.

in::sync media recently completed the fly around of the new building under construction.

Ballinger Helps Academic Medical Centers Move Beyond State-of-the-Art to Anticipate the Road Ahead

In the Sept-Oct 2015 issue of Medical Construction and Design, Ballinger Principal Louis Meilink Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE, discusses the future of Academic Medical Centers (AMC).  AMCs account for 6 percent of care providers, but contribute 20 percent of all hospital care and 40 percent of the uncompensated charity care in the US.  With a disproportionately large market share, AMCs are the first to feel the impact of regulatory and market pressures.  To neutralize pressures without sacrificing mission or quality of care, AMCs must identify strategies to ensure regenerative institutional growth.  Forward-thinking planning and design can contribute directly to the agility of these institutions.

Link to Full Article

Tradeline Report: Convergence Drives New Approaches to Strategic Planning

Tradeline published a report featuring Ballinger’s design for a new engineering teaching and research building at the University of Maryland, College Park. Designed to facilitate the practical integration of bioscience, medicine and engineering, the building will serve as a national center for innovation.

The report is based on presentations at Tradeline’s College and University Science Facilities 2014 conference, given by Ballinger principal Craig S. Spangler; lab planner Jeffrey Schantz; Founding Chair of the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, Bill Bentley; and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, Darryll Pines.

Link to Article

Ballinger’s Central Utility Plant powers CHOP’s New Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care

 

Long-time Ballinger client, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, opened its doors at the new Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care Monday. The Buerger Center is a major part of the new Raymond G. Perelman Campus, master planned by Ballinger. It’s powered by the Central Utility Plant, which maintains 24-hour utility generation. Utilities produced and distributed include compressed air, chilled water, hot water and electricity, among others.

Axon 1

View Article

Tradeline Features Ballinger’s Laboratory Renovation

Tradeline recently published a report featuring Ballinger’s design for Johns Hopkins University’s new Undergraduate Teaching Labs. In it, they detail how this addition and renovation to the Mudd/Levi Biology complex integrates into the campus and modernizes the University’s research capabilities. The structure of the laboratory, seminar, office, and amenity spaces provides a state-of-the-art academic environment for JHU’s chemistry, biology, biophysics, psychology, and neuroscience students, as well as the flexibility for these academic programs to grow and evolve into the future.

Link to Article

Ballinger’s Design for the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Center Featured in SNAP

Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Center, designed by Ballinger, is the subject of a case study in SNAP, a bi-monthly publication covering new building products and trends for architects and building designers.

In it Ballinger Principal Eric W. Swanson, AIA describes the design aspiration to “change how people felt about cancer care by setting a different tone.” Focused on regeneration and reconnection to living systems, the two-story building extends on a radial grid from a courtyard healing garden. Glazed skins and multiple points of access provide a continuous dialogue between interior and exterior, creating a visually open and calming environment for patients.

Arcticle Link

A World of Research Under One Roof

The opening of the new Science and Engineering Hall is the cover story of the Winter 2015 edition of GW Magazine. “It’s an impressive building in an impressive location,” says Dr. Can Korman, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and Professor at GW’s School for Engineering and Applied Science.

Chemistry professor Susan Gillmor described the experience of students working in the new building, “Instead of this being a drag that you have to go to lab for four hours, you are going into a lab that inspires you, a lab where you want to learn.”

Completed in 2014, Science and Engineering Hall is the largest academic building of its kind in Washington, DC and the first new major laboratory building on the campus in over 50 years.

Link to Magazine

Inspired by Data Centers, Ballinger Engineers Protect the Power Supply for Patients

An article by Ballinger’s Benjamin O. Medich, PE and Reading Health System’s David J. Major, PE, CHC, CHFM was published by Medical Construction + Design Magazine (MCD). The piece describes the power supply design for the Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care, which applies techniques from modern data centers. High quality and highly reliable power is critical in healthcare environments.

­­Link to article

Ballinger Among Top A/E Firms for BD+C Giants 300

Ballinger is pleased to be recognized in this year’s Building Design and Construction Giants 300 Report for Top Architecture/Engineering Firms. In addition to the firm’s overall ranking (#32), Ballinger ranked #26 in the Top BIM Architecture Firms category, #22 in the Top University Sector Architecture Firms category and #23 in the Top Healthcare Sector Architecture Firms category.

See Rankings

Ballinger Makes Distinguished ARCHITECT 50

Each year, ARCHITECT magazine conducts an in-depth survey to produce a qualitative ranking of the top 50 architecture firms across a broad range of categories, from business to sustainability to design. Based on factors such as net revenue per employee, profits invested in research, and energy efficient metrics in conjunction with the AIA 2030 challenge, Ballinger was ranked #39 overall. Ballinger’s commitment to sustainable design was recognized with a rank of 25 in the sustainability category.

Link to Full List

Weill Greenberg Center Profiled by Architect Magazine

Ballinger project the Weill Greenberg Center at Weill Cornell Medical College, designed with Polshek Partnership Architects, was recently profiled by Architect Magazine.

Excerpted from architectmagazine.com:

The Weill Cornell Medical Center is a sprawling complex on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The campus includes several prominent buildings, among them the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, a teaching hospital, and research facilities. With the opening last year of the Weill Greenberg Center, the first clinical building in Weill Cornell’s 109-year history, the medical center establishes a new paradigm in ambulatory healthcare. The 15-story, 330,000-square-foot flagship, designed by New York–based Polshek Partnership Architects and by Ballinger of Philadelphia, will house the most advanced clinical facilities for departments such as dermatology, hypertension treatment, otolaryngology, in vitro fertilization, and cardiology.

Polshek Partnership was the architect for the base building and all the public spaces. The firm worked closely with Ballinger, which designed the conference center and clinical practices, including reception areas and exam and waiting rooms. Polshek partner Todd Schliemann explains the strategy: “There’s a trend for the delivery of healthcare away from a threatening environment. The goal is to deinstitutionalize the experience and create an atmosphere that is perceived as a familiar everyday event.”

The building’s translucent, vertically faceted curtain wall is a deliberate departure from the architecture of the surrounding buildings. By using low-iron glazing, tinted with a chevron pattern of white ceramic fritting, Schliemann says Polshek was able to create “a soft, elegant veil over the façade.” The contrast with the campus’s older masonry buildings brings the Weill Greenberg Center out of that institutional context and into the larger city, establishing a new, refined image for healthcare facilities.

The interiors are no less inspired. In both the public spaces and the clinics, Polshek and Ballinger pursued a spa theme, or salus per aquam (Latin for “health through water”), which suggested a palette of warm materials—wood, travertine walls and floors, and Cor-Ten steel accents, with soothing neutral colors, reflective and cascading water features in the lobby, and, of course, an abundance of natural light. The lobby is served, like a spa resort, by a convenient vehicle drop-off with valet parking. From the lobby, escalators ascend to the Patient Welcome and Resource Center, which is open to the public. The center offers patients and families a quiet place to rest between appointments and browse through medical information in one of its lounges, on a computer workstation, or in the Health Education Library.

Architect Eric Swanson led the design team for Ballinger. He acknowledges that evidence-based design now drives the strategies of most new healthcare facilities. The goal of evidence-based design is to create environments that are therapeutic, restorative, economical, and efficient and that increase patient satisfaction while reducing both patient and staff stress. The architect and client make decisions based on information gathered from research and past project evaluations. The architect then uses the findings to create the best research-backed solutions for the client’s particular needs. During the planning phase of this building, the architects worked closely with Weill Cornell’s Physician Organization, which is charged with implementing a new vision for ambulatory patient care through an initiative called Weill Cornell: We Care.

At the Weill Greenberg Center, the Ballinger team relied on materials to facilitate wayfinding. The reception area on every patient floor is located on the north side of the building, making orientation consistent throughout the building. Exam rooms occupy the interior, and doctors’ offices claim the southern and eastern perimeters. Reception areas are framed by backdrops of Cor-Ten steel, whose rust patina Swanson says is appropriate here: “It’s a real material, natural, durable, and urbane. It has a rich texture.” Bronze letters on the steel identify the clinic, and patients are directed either to the left or right, depending on their destination. Signage, etched into frosted-glass panels along the corridors, leads patients to the waiting rooms, which are rendered in neutral colors with midcentury modern leather furniture and high-end artwork selected by an art consultant. The serenity of the center’s waiting rooms supports the premise that there is a clear relationship between design and patient perceptions—the more attractive the environment, the higher the perceived quality of medical care and the lower the anxiety.

Ballinger focused a great deal of attention on the exam rooms. First of all, the firm designed the cabinetry to conceal the medical instruments that are usually on display. Finishes were carefully specified. For instance, when cork floors were rejected due to maintenance concerns, the architects found a rubber-vinyl alternative that looks like cork and supports the spa theme. The architects also concentrated on the lighting, creating an array of options. There’s a single, recessed downlight in the ceiling; under-cabinet lighting; and task lighting. This strategy allows the physician to choose the appropriate illumination for the circumstances.

The Weill Greenberg Center is a Pebble Project, a joint research effort between the nonprofit Center for Health Design and selected healthcare providers. The purpose of the Pebble Project initiative is to cause a “ripple effect” in American healthcare by providing documented examples of facilities whose design has made a difference in the level of care and financial performance. Although findings on Weill Greenberg have not yet been published, there is preliminary feedback suggesting that the center’s goals have been surpassed and that it will be a model for the next generation of healthcare design.

Link to article