Category: Resources

Sustainability at American University’s Hall of Science

The sciences are currently the fastest-growing area of undergraduate study. After American University’s College of Arts and Sciences faculty grew their research funding by more than 100% and received over 50 awards from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, the university wanted to create a space dedicated to expanding their scientific research. With the goal of unifying their Life Sciences programs under one roof, Ballinger transformed a former parking lot on American’s campus into a state-of-the-art facility that encourages interdisciplinary interaction in a sustainable environment.

In order to support generations of American University STEM students, Ballinger’s architecture, engineering, interior design, and lab planning teams designed a facility as innovative as the research it supports. The building’s envelope, efficient ventilation, sustainable design strategies contribute to its LEED Gold certification, reflecting the university’s environmental stewardship as the nation’s first carbon-neutral campus.

The three-story, 123,000 square foot Hall of Science is home to the departments of biology, environmental science, chemistry, and neuroscience. The building and its amenities were designed to support collaborative work and provide plenty of space for students to gather and study and the common areas throughout the building encourage interdisciplinary interaction and encourage partnerships. Learn more about the building’s design and environmental initiatives and watch a time-lapse of the construction.

What rugby can teach us about the workspace of the future

Published in Building Design + Construction

In a 1986 Harvard Business Review article, “The New New Product Development Game,” Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka observed that in order to excel in a fast-paced market, companies should emphasize speed and flexibility in product development. They advocated shifting from a linear “relay race” approach to an agile “rugby” approach in which multidisciplinary teams work together on a project from start to finish.

Agile work is an umbrella term used to describe a broad project management philosophy. It is one among many methodologies that contribute to an organizational approach. Although IT developers and start-ups popularized the concept of agile work in recent years, companies have been utilizing methods we now classify as agile for almost as long as the modern office has existed. This is not a new concept, but rather one that is being recycled and re-interpreted for today’s modern, technology-focused future.

Takeuchi and Nonaka adopted one specific component of the game of rugby, the scrum, to further define their method of agile work. In a rugby scrum, players pack closely together with their heads down and bodies interlocked in an attempt to gain possession of the ball. Each player contributes a unique set of skills towards a common goal. This analogy has been further refined over time by those who have adopted the agile method of work. In the 2017 edition of “The Scrum Guide” by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, the agile team (or scrum) is a highly adaptive, purposefully small team that operates under defined rules, roles, events and artifacts in order to develop, deliver and sustain complex and innovative solutions. Teams are built on the three pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaption, requiring members to embrace the values of commitment, focus, openness, respect and courage.

As observed by Takeuchi and Nonaka, successful agile teams are intentionally built to include diverse points of view and purposefully eliminate a sense of hierarchy. In a follow-up publication, “Embracing Agile,” Rigby, Sutherland and Takeuchi acknowledge the scum/agile method is an investment that requires training, behavioral change and new tools.

In 2021 we are returning to a workplace that was designed to support an obsolete way of working. As companies move toward a hybrid model of virtual and in person work, they are investing in workspace designs that support a more resilient, technology-dependent workforce comfortable working in pods and scrum-like networks.

Accelerated by the pandemic, the rise of collaboration, and a rapidly increasing reliance on technology, more organizations are moving towards agile methods. As everyone now has an individual work seat at home, the physical office environment’s primary value comes in supporting the team, ideally through Schwaber and Sutherland’s three pillars: transparency, inspection and adaptation.

The challenge comes in providing space that can uphold the three pillars, create equity, encourage conversation, and reinforce team values while still providing the flexibility to accommodate individual skill sets and ways of work. In a post-pandemic world, these spaces should also focus on technologies that allow remote team members to interface with their in-office counterparts in a way that ensures them a “seat” at the table.

Transparency across the agile team manifests through space when individual work areas are centrally located, often at a communal table, thus allowing for fluid exchange of ideas. The community that forms from working together also leads naturally to leveling the playing field in terms of hierarchy, which helps to foster a sense of team territoriality and belonging.

Creating this team area as a safe place to experiment, make mistakes and adapt outside of the watchful eye of management is a key component of agile work. A space that can be physically closed off and made private empowers the group to manage their own environment as appropriate for each phase of development. Anticipating and building in effective plug-and-play technology increases transparency across the in-person and remote team. Providing literal transparency through glass walls and other architectural solutions can help the team better control their environment, sharing or closing down when needed.

Providing settings for introspection — or in the language of the scrum framework, inspection — enables moments of solitude to support neurodiversity, which is essential to innovation. Spaces that support “heads down” work are often at odds with a team room setting. Providing focus rooms and small break-out spaces, either within the team space or adjacent, allows members room to review progress and concentrate on their specific contribution to the team. It allows for smaller groups to break off to develop ideas independently before introducing them to the team at large.

Giving people autonomy to change their work setting, even for short periods of time, allows them to recharge and refocus. Providing quiet spaces accommodates team members who are sensitive to the stimuli of a typical open office environment.

One of the most significant benefits of working in an agile team is it builds resiliency in members. The cyclical nature of the scrum process — the frequent check-ins and realigning of values and goals — compel teams to adapt quickly to change. If this was not a valued attribute in a pre-pandemic world, it certainly is now. Agile workspace designs accommodate growth and enable adaptation. Supportive technologies and spatial features such as movable furniture and wall surfaces allow innovation to literally be seen. As we move into a new paradigm of work, we need to evaluate what won’t change – core values, basic human needs, and common infrastructure – and assume everything else will.

In a recent Steelcase poll, employees in the US ranked isolation, decreased engagement and the speed of decision-making as the top three challenges of remote work. Agile team spaces are essential components of the future office landscape and have the ability to ensure that teams feel supported by their work environment.


  • Takeuchi, Hirotaka and Ikujiro Nonaka. “The New New Product Development Game.” Harvard Business Review Jan. 1986
  • Schwaber, Ken and Jeff Sutherland. The Scrum Guide – The Definitive Guide to Scrum: The Rules of the Game. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, 2017
  • Rigby, Darrell K., Jeff Sutherland, and Hirotaka Takeuchi. Embracing Agile: How to master the process that’s transforming management. Harvard Business Review May 2016

Cultivating Workplace Culture Amidst Evolving Worker Expectations

As the US economy rebounds and job growth continues, companies are competing to attract and retain talent while confronting changing employee expectations about the office environment. Ballinger’s clients are asking: How can space be organized to foster face to face interaction while ensuring employee safety? What does it mean to be both local and global? How can policies enable flexibility while safeguarding equitable access to career development opportunities, learning and mentorship?

Ballinger’s work with diverse life science clients give us insight into how organizations are addressing these questions and the many others brought on by remote and hybrid work. One of our recent research projects shed light on what employees value in a workplace, and revealed key decisions leaders must consider to engage workers, optimize real estate, and ensure continued productivity. 

Our Research and Strategy team was engaged to survey employees of a biotech company and facilitate conversations with its senior leaders about the future of the organization’s workplace. The survey, administered to over 600 employees across their growing local and global organization, found that 91% of respondents feel flexibility in where they work maximizes their ability to successfully do their job. About working virtually, 80% of respondents feel they’re able to collaborate successfully with colleagues remotely and 67% report a healthy work/life balance. Concurrently, the survey revealed feelings of “Zoom fatigue,” and apprehension about the potential health risks of sharing in-person space. Most employees expressed a desire to continue to work virtually or have schedule flexibility for some portion of their work week. In envisioning their workplace of the future, employees identified both spaces to focus and collaborate as being important to the workplace environment.


An analysis of the survey results informed a leadership workshop, which focused on defining requirements for the future workplace and identifying ways to better support the collaborative work process. The workshop explored hybrid work from the employee and management perspective, as well as office space types, policies, and wellness goals. A final report captured the survey results and workshop takeaways, establishing key findings that helped shape the organization’s future workplace aspirations and return to office parameters.

A rigorous workplace research phase can support change management programs and build trust among employees. By recognizing the intersections of policy, talent growth and recruitment, inclusion and well-being, and the workplace as a key component of a company’s identity, life science leaders can help reinforce and strengthen their workplace culture.

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.

Q&A with Ballinger’s Katherine Ahrens About the Future of Work

The global pandemic has altered the economic and professional landscape for people around the world. It is changing perceptions about the workplace and the value of working together in person. Many employees are asking, “Why should we go back to the office given that remote work has proven successful?” Senior Associate Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP, focuses on workplace strategy and design at Ballinger, helping companies plan office space that improves employee wellness and productivity. She shared insight into the evolving future of the workplace.

Do you predict a long-term increase in remote work?

Yes, for knowledge workers I think remote work is here to stay. But more importantly, I believe we’ll see an increase in hybrid workstyles and schedules that benefit overall productivity as well as employee work/life balance. Rather than a calendar-based model like being in the office in person Monday, Wednesday and Friday, schedules will be more individualized based on work tasks and personal commitments. As employers recognize that remote work is productive and enhances employee morale, I think we’ll see further disruption of the typical 9-5 schedule.

What are some keys to making remote work successful, for employees and companies?

A strong company culture is an important foundation for successful remote work. Leadership confidence that remote work is effective is a prerequisite. Another key is a commitment to formally addressing gaps created by remote work, for example identifying ways to facilitate mentorship and encourage relationships among people who are not working together directly.

How can employers leverage their real estate assets during these turbulent times?

I believe as the health crisis continues to shake out we’ll see a lasting impact on the way people work. I expect to see the ratio of individual to group space shift. In the past we allocated more space to the individual, but we’re seeing that reverse. Individual space isn’t as important because workers have the option of retreating to a home office. The focus is now on designing effective group workspace, since collaboration is a driver for coming to the office in person.

How can workplace designers best bring value to clients?

Research, strategy and planning are crucial and will become even more important to a successful design as we continue to learn about how people are returning to the office and why. As designers, we’ll need to be nimble: one metric we typically rely on is badge data, to understand who is entering and when. That metric has drastically changed and it may time take to discern meaningful patterns as workers return to the office. We expect to see a wider range of work styles and schedules, making the designer’s task more challenging. We’ll need to identify the right space types for a variety of tasks. The workplace of the future may be designed more like a college library. It’s a place you can go to collaborate with a group, socialize, or complete focused work. There will be less “owned” space dedicated to a particular individual or department, and more spaces that focus on completing specific tasks.

Workplace designers can add value by recognizing the specialized expertise needed to optimize not just the layout, but the overall employee experience. MEP systems have a considerable impact on the office environment. HVAC systems can play a role in reducing airborne transmission of infectious aerosols and can influence employee comfort in terms of temperature and acoustics.

What has surprised you the most about the shift to remote work?

Working from home with three kids, two babysitters and a partner on non-stop conference calls, it has surprised me that I now view the office as a tranquil sanctuary of productivity!

I’m surprised at how remote work has caused people to think differently about the meaning of an office. Back in March people were saying offices will be a thing of the past. Since then the pendulum has begun to swing back. I thought collaboration was the primary driver for in-person work but it’s not that simple. Employees turn to in-person work for a variety of reasons that vary from person to person and role to role. What makes in-person work attractive might include the technology that’s available in the office, the quiet environment, physical materials and objects, or socialization.  

To be most effective, office space should build on those offerings and function as an amenity. Rather than a space with conveniences such as foosball tables and snacks, I’m referring to a more process- and productivity-driven amenity. A place that attracts workers because it facilitates the completion of tasks.

Ballinger presents “The Big Five” Healthcare Planning + Design Strategies

Ballinger Senior Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., FAIA, ACHA, ACHE, and Associate Principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP were invited to speak at the spring 2019 Architecture-For-Health Lecture Series at Texas A&M University. The televised series, “Health Systems and Networks: The New Clients,” is hosted by the College of Architecture and the Health Science Center School of Public Health.

The presentation examined the “Big Five” key design decisions that enable adaptability in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. Described through case studies of recent projects, the presentation covered trends in health systems, patient-centered care and technology.

Link to video of presentation

Designing Space for Nomadic Workers

Many of today’s workers are nomads – moving from one place to another within a building or campus, or working remotely with periodic visits to the office. How can workplace design enable flexibility, and how do the solutions compare in corporate, academic and healthcare environments?

Writer Patricia Washburn covered the topic in her Tradeline Report “Designing Space for Nomadic Workers,” based on presentations by members of Ballinger’s Research + Strategy team.

“More and more, workers aren’t going to an office and sitting at the same desk Monday through Friday….These nomadic workers are often mobile by choice, taking advantage of the flexibility that technology has enabled for academic staff, knowledge workers, and even healthcare employees,” Washburn writes.

Principal Keith C.H. Mock, AIA, associate principal Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, and senior associate Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP contributed to the research. They looked across a range of work environments to illustrate the continuity of workplace strategies.

The Research + Strategy team at Ballinger builds on experience gained through diverse project types to design evidence-based, high-performing environments.  The team’s unique methodology combines a series of well-honed tools, critical thinking, and cross-market knowledge to better inform project design and outcomes.  This takes the form of detailed pre- and post-occupancy analysis and evaluations, branding and change management communications.

Link to article

The Big 5: Healthcare Planning and Design Strategies for an Adaptable Future

Ballinger Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Associate Principal Erin Nunes Cooper, AIA, LEED AP presented “The Big 5: Healthcare Planning and Design Strategies for an Adaptable Future” at the 2018 Healthcare Design Conference in Phoenix. The presentation examined the key design decisions that enable adaptability in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. Utilizing digital audience polling, the presenters facilitated real-time information exchange among attendees about key planning decisions and perceptions. Produced by Healthcare Design magazine in association with the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health, the conference showcases research, trends and strategies in the healthcare design industry.

Link to presentation

Feel the Biophilia: Humanizing Healthcare Design

Ballinger principals Eric Swanson, AIA and Louis Meilink, AIA, ACHA, ACHE, along with landscape architect Jonathan Alderson, presented “Feel the Biophilia: Humanizing Healthcare Design” at the annual Healthcare Design Conference. Their talk explored how nature in healthcare design promotes physical, social and mental well-being, as well as tactical considerations for implementing biophilic design concepts. The presentation included case studies of Penn Medicine: Lancaster General Health, Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute and Tower Health’s Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care. The conference, held this year in Phoenix, showcases research, trends and strategies in the healthcare design industry.

Link to slides

The State of Population Health in the U.S.

On display at this year’s European Healthcare Design Congress & Exhibition, Ballinger presented an infographic poster analyzing the current state of population health in the United States and a case study of the Ballinger-designed 88,000 SF green roof at Tower Health System as a solution to space limitations and strategy to improve the patient experience.

Population Health Poster

Beyond Green Poster


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

Ballinger presents “How Do We As The Design Community Contribute To Population Health?”

Ballinger principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE was invited to speak at the spring 2018 Architecture-For-Health Lecture Series at Texas A&M University. The televised series “Innovative Healthy Communities’,” invites experts to discuss the built environment’s effect on the health of communities. Louis presented ‘How Do We As The Design Community Contribute To Population Health?’ to an audience comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty members. His talk identified key factors that link design and population health, and illustrated them through case studies. Featured projects included Puentes de Salud in Philadelphia, and buildings at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Tower Health System and Rutgers University.

Link to video of presentation

Population Health and the Quadruple Aim

Ballinger participated in this year’s PDC Summit, an international conference and exhibition on health facility planning, design and construction. Ballinger principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE, and senior project healthcare planners Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC and Debbie Phillips, AIA, ACHA, EDAC presented “Population Health and the Quadruple Aim,” in which they explored how we as the design community contribute to population health. They illustrated the key factors that link design and population health through case studies of Puentes de Salud, Penn Medicine: Lancaster General Health Urgent Care, Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical and Patient Care, and the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health.

A digital poll of the audience, conducted during the presentation, revealed that 69% of respondents view individuals (rather than healthcare providers or policy makers) as having the most impact on population health. The presenters issued a call to action for the design community to employ humanistic design and “the right place” to contribute to population health.

Link to presentation

Ballinger Presents at 2017 International Institute for Sustainable Labs Conference

Ballinger Principals Craig S. Spangler, AIA and Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP presented at this year’s International Institute for Sustainable Labs Conference in Boston, MA. The I2SL annual conference is a technical forum focused on strategies to meet the challenges of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in laboratories and related facilities.

Their presentation, “Share the Air: Cascading Air Strategies Using Neutral Temperature Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems” explores how cascading air strategies can be applied to the design of complex buildings to optimize energy savings from first costs to continued maintenance.

Illustrated with examples from Ballinger’s portfolio, the presentation highlighted successful design and engineering strategies to minimize energy use and reduce costs through the use of neutral temperature dedicated outdoor air systems.


Link to slides

HUP: Q&A with Russ Neithammer

Ballinger’s electrical engineers are celebrating the completion of a long-term project to replace the 15 kV medium-voltage power switchgear in Penn Medicine’s Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP).

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine was the nation’s first medical school and remains a renowned center of research and clinical excellence. HUP is the oldest university-owned teaching hospital in the country and sees over 72,000 patients per year. Ballinger has worked with them over the last ten years on the planning and implementation of several major electrical power projects, with the end goal of replacing the 15 kV medium voltage main service entrance switchgear for this prestigious institution.  Chief Electrical Engineer, Russ Neithammer explained Ballinger’s approach to this monumental project.

What was this project all about?

RUSS NEITHAMMER: The overall goal was to upgrade the over 70-year-old 15 kV medium voltage utility service entrance switchgear, leading to an improvement in overall reliability, simplified maintenance, and a reduction in exposure to catastrophic failure. We started with a feasibility study in which we identified a number of approaches to replacing the switchgear and to upgrading lighting, HVAC, fire sprinkler protection, and egress provisions in the hospital’s main electrical equipment vault to meet current code requirements and to be consistent with other University electrical service facilities.

What sort of options did you consider?

RN: Each approach had its pros, cons, and risks.   For switchgear replacement, we considered many options. For example, we looked at a vacuum circuit breaker retrofit into existing switchgear cubicles, installing the new switchgear in the existing location, and installing it in an adjacent transformer vault location.

How did you decide which approach to take?

RN: It was essential that there be no disruptions to hospital operations in the process of replacing the service entrance switchgear.  This meant that we had to have a design that minimized the time required for any single outage as we changed over from the old switchgear to the new, while also allowing for the option of temporarily backing out to existing conditions if we encountered problems during any of the outage work.  Continuity of operations and constructability were the key drivers that informed all major design decisions.

That sounds complex. What methods did you use to make that possible?

RN: We designed the switchgear installation with constructability in mind right from the start.  The design option that resulted in the least amount of risk to hospital operations was the one that allowed for installation and energization of the new switchgear in the adjacent transformer vault before removal of the old.  This allowed us to move loads from the existing to the new switchgear via separate, sequential outages for each of the feeders.

The initial challenge was that before we could address replacement of the main switchgear, the active 2400V transformers in the transformer vault had to be removed from service.   This meant that the entire existing 2400V distribution system (a holdover from the early 1900’s) had to be eliminated.  We accomplished that by executing two predecessor enabling projects.  First, we replaced the 2400V switchgear and transformation (to 480V) in the Dulles building portion of the HUP complex.  Our second enabling project involved the construction of a new building that houses transformation (to 480V) and distribution to the three oldest buildings of the HUP complex.  As with the replacement of the main substation, each of the enabling projects had its own constructability issues, which were addressed in a similar manner to the main substation project, i.e., install and energize the new equipment before removing the existing equipment.  Completing the enabling projects eliminated all loads on the existing 2400V transformers, thus allowing them to be removed from the transformer vault and freeing up the space we needed to completely install and energize the new switchgear and move the feeders.

With an empty transformer vault, construction work leading to installation and energization could go forward, requiring only two short utility outages to tie in and energize the new switchgear and make it ready to accept load as the feeder moves were executed.

What takeaways do you have after 10 years on this project?

RN: Overall, communication throughout the process was the key to executing the project with minimal disruption to hospital operations. The design and construction staff, operations staff, clinical staff, construction manager, design assist electrical contractor, design engineer, and PECO (the electrical utility serving HUP) were all involved throughout the entire process. Likewise, although this project had a heavy electrical focus, architecture and all of Ballinger’s engineering disciplines played significant roles.

Approaching the project with this level of communication meant that the design constructability was understood by all parties.   This understanding led to detailed outage planning for the best possible coordination with hospital operations. The result was a process with minimal design changes or surprises and a project executed on-time and well within budget.

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.

Post-Occupancy Evaluation Published for Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute

Ballinger recently published a Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute at Penn Medicine’s Lancaster General Health. Ballinger conducts POE’s to assess and monitor how buildings are being used. This data informs how future designs can best foster healing and optimize the healthcare experience for patients, families, and caregivers. The research team was led by Ballinger Principal, Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE; Senior Associate, Amy Floresta, AIA, LEED AP; and Healthcare Planner, Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC.

The objective of the POE was to understand which planning and design intentions have been most successfully realized, where user adaptations have been made, and the reasons for change. The team began by gathering both qualitative and quantitative data through an on-line survey to patients and staff, on-site interviews with staff, and on-site observation. These varied collection points allowed the evaluation team to triangulate issues that permeate all groups. The data was then evaluated using three categories: the overall building design and the perception of its spaces, how shifts in operations and procedure have affected staff culture, and patient experience.

The results suggest that the design was successful in fulfilling Lancaster General Health’s vision of providing an extraordinary experience every time. The iconic and integrated nature of the building has increased the hospital’s ability to attract and retain talented physicians and caregivers. Patients reported spending a significant amount of time utilizing the building amenities, which can be attributed, in part, to the presence of nature throughout these areas. The clinical layout was designed to provide a quiet and calming atmosphere. By separating the “on-stage” clinical environment from “off-stage” staff circulation, noise, traffic, and disruption were reduced. Decentralization supply stations reduced walking distances for staff and increased their time with patients. Overall, respondents found these planning strategies effective in improving the healthcare experience.

View the post-occupancy evaluation

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

Post-Occupancy Evaluation Published for Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital’s Lasko Tower

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 the buildings are being used. Ballinger recently published a POE on their design for the Lasko Tower at Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital, completed in 2015. The research team, led by Ballinger Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and healthcare planners Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC and Debbie Phillips, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, assessed which planning and design interventions were most successful and what effect the unit design had on staff and patients.

Although the primary goal was to gather insights for an additional bed tower (currently under construction), it also offered an opportunity to compare patient satisfaction and operational performance against an existing 20-bed unit, the West Building (built in 1962 and renovated in 1998). Significant differences between the West unit and the Lasko Tower unit include a larger floor area with a racetrack organization of patient beds rather than a single-corridor layout, the inclusion of decentralized care stations between every two patient rooms, and more locations for staff charting.

The analysis assessed patient satisfaction with rooms and amenities, staff operations relative to charting and patient care, and housekeeping operations relative to material selection and ongoing maintenance. Because both of the units studied have private patient rooms, the evaluation enabled direct comparison between fall rates, HCAHPS scores (noise and cleanliness), and rates of hospital acquired infections (HAI). The study included a proximity index charting the travel distances between staff care stations, patient rooms and supplies, and assigned a cost/benefit metric to key design considerations.

The POE results suggest Lasko Tower is an improved patient care environment, and since moving in, the hospital has noted significant improvements in all categories. The insights gained through this study directly informed planning of the 96-room patient bed tower currently under construction.

View the post-occupancy evaluation

Clean Flow: Fact or Fiction?

At a recent webinar hosted by The Center for Health Design, Ballinger Principal Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Director of Healthcare Planning Dwight Smith, AIA, NCARB, EDAC explored what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to clean flow.

As procedures become less invasive and expand to other modalities, differentiating cleanliness protocols have expanded to other disciplines, but in the process, grayed the understanding of what is best practice. The webinar presentation served as a reminder that maximizing clean flow processes has a direct impact on patient safety and the bottom line, and that its success is only as good as its weakest link.

Ballinger’s recommendation for approaching construction projects is to establish a multidisciplinary team to:

  • Focus on opportunities to control airflow and turbulence
  • Establish instrument movement to always flow from dirty to clean
  • Stock equipment and supplies properly (location and quantity) to reduce staff movement and need for IMU
  • Use proper room zoning to protect the sterile environment
  • Remove unessential staff from the operating room

Link to Presentation

The Universal Prep/Recovery: A New Paradigm or Smoke and Mirrors?

Ballinger’s Director of Healthcare Planning, Dwight Smith, AIA, NCARB, EDAC, and Senior Healthcare Planner Richard Lawless, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC presented a talk at the 2017 PDC Summit in Orlando, an annual international conference on health facility planning, design and construction.

Their presentation, “The Universal Prep/Recovery: A New Paradigm or Smoke and Mirrors?” explored the benefits and limitations of a universal room design. Building a universal room can impact construction, it can affect the clinical care model – primarily in the areas of patient safety and efficiency of the workplace environment – and it can improve consumer satisfaction.

Illustrated with examples from Ballinger’s portfolio, the presentation highlighted the benefits of multi-functional standardized spaces, such as a universal prep recovery room, to provide adaptability and flexibility for the future.

Link to Presentation

The Whole Box: Beyond Pre-Fabrication

For decades architects, engineers and contractors have speculated about how the healthcare building process can be improved. Pre-fabrication offers dramatic opportunities for construction process improvement and quality control. What are the right applications for pre-fabrication in healthcare and what factors should be considered at the start of design?

Ballinger Principals Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Barry Finkelstein, PE and Healthcare Planner Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, along with Richard Lanzarone, a Project Executive at Turner Construction Co., explored these questions at the 2017 PDC Summit in Orlando, an annual international conference on health facility planning, design and construction. Their presentation “The Whole Box: Beyond Pre-Fabrication,” illustrated the spectrum of pre-fabrication possibilities, from components to structural modules, and outlined a process to help clients determine if a project, or part of a project, is right for pre-fabrication.

Link to Presentation

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.

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.

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

The Evolving Quadruple Aim: Improving Public Health and the Importance of Place

In 2007 the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) developed the Triple Aim framework, an approach to optimizing health system performance. The idea was to simultaneously improve the patient care experience, improve the health of a population, and reduce per capita healthcare costs. Ballinger principal Louis Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE paraphrases the goals of the framework as “delivering the right care for the right price at the right time.”

Given the impact of the Affordable Care Act and current trends in population health, today’s healthcare institutions and planners must also consider a fourth aim: the right place. The Evolving Quadruple Aim builds on the IHI framework to include the importance of place. By considering the location, scale and services provided within a facility, healthcare planners can optimize operations and improve population health.

Ballinger is studying the spectrum of healthcare from homecare and telehealth to academic medical centers. By understanding and balancing the benefits of on-demand access, tertiary and quaternary care, spaces for community use and other factors, Ballinger is studying and advocating for improved population health through the design of health facilities.

Louis Meilink and Senior Healthcare Planner Debbie Phillips, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, were invited to speak at the Fall 2016 Architecture-For-Health Lecture Series at Texas A&M University. The series, “The Global Impact of the Concept of Population Health on the Design of Health Networks and Health Facilities,” invites experienced public health and design professionals, who have programmed and designed healthcare facilities, to present on relevant themes. Louis and Debbie presented “Research-based Design: Fundamental to Architectural Excellence While Advancing Population Health” and answered questions from students, faculty members, design professionals and an international delegation. The presentation coincided with the annual meeting of the Texas A&M Center for Health Systems and Design’s Health Industry Advisory Council (HIAC).

Link to presentation

The Emerging Open Scientific Environment

Ballinger Principals Jeffrey S. French, FAIA and Craig S. Spangler, AIA participated in Tradeline’s College and University Science and Engineering Facilities 2016 Conference. Their presentation “The Emerging Open Scientific Environment: Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons Learned” examined Ballinger’s recent and ongoing science and engineering projects at Swarthmore College, the University of Wisconsin, the George Washington University, and Rutgers University.

Facility Solutions for the New Medical Education Models and the ‘Renovate, Repurpose or Build’ Decision

Ballinger Principal Todd Drake, AIA, LEED AP presented a talk at Tradeline’s 2016 Facility Strategies for Academic Medicine and the Health Sciences conference. Todd was joined by the University of Michigan Medical School’s Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, MD, Associate Dean for Medical Student Education and Bradley R. Densen, MPH, Director of Office of Medical Student Education, as well as Joseph C Fantone III, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

The presentation, titled “Facility Solutions for the New Medical Education Models and the ‘Renovate, Repurpose or Build’ Decision,” examined different approaches to facility modernization. Ballinger designed the renovation of the Taubman Health Sciences Library at the University of Michigan and the Harrell Medical Education Building at the University of Florida. These case studies illustrate the decision factors and planning implications of choosing to renovate, repurpose or build medical education facilities.

Link to presentation


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

Ballinger Presents at PDC Summit 2016

At the PDC Summit 2016 in San Diego, CA, Ballinger’s Principal Louis A. Meilink, Jr., along with healthcare planners’ Christina Grimes & Debbie Phillips, and Chester County Hospital’s Director of Medical Services Cathy Weidman presented a Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital’s new 24-bed Lasko Tower.  Although the primary goal was to gather insights for another bed tower in design, it also offered an opportunity to compare patient satisfaction and operational performance against an existing 20 bed unit, the West Building (built in 1962 and renovated in 1998).

The most significant changes between the existing unit and the new unit included a much larger floor area and a racetrack organization of patient beds rather than a single corridor.  In addition, the new Lasko Tower’s design includes decentralized care stations between every 2 patient rooms and more locations for staff charting.  The analysis reviewed multiple items including:

  • Patient satisfaction with the new room and other amenities,
  • Staff operations relative to charting and patient care, and
  • Housekeeping operations relative to material selection and ongoing maintenance.

Because both units had private patient rooms, there was a more direct comparison between fall rates, HCAHPS scores (noise & cleanliness), and rates of hospital acquired infections (HAI).  Since the move, the hospital has seen significant improvements in all categories.

The study assigned a cost/benefit metric to key design considerations including private rooms, decentralized care stations, supply locations, and family amenities.  The study also included a Proximity Index charting the travel distances between staff care stations, patient rooms and supplies.  Insights gained will directly inform plans for the future 96-room patient bed tower design scheduled to be built in 2018.

Data collection method: 117 staff and 50 patient survey responses, onsite observation and onsite interviews with staff (December 2015).

Link to Presentation

The Ballinger presentation at the PDC Summit 2016 utilized live polling software to gauge the audience’s perspectives on several healthcare design topics.  When asked the question “Which intervention had the Highest Impact for the Least Cost?” the audience made up of architects /engineers and healthcare staff responded:  70% Decentralized Station; 18% Noise Reducing Measures; 9% Décor + Material; 3% Size of the Patient Room.

Link to Video of Polling

Iconic Design and Clinical Excellence: You Can Have Both

At the 2015 Healthcare Design Expo & Conference in Washington, DC, Ballinger’s Louis Meilink, Jr., Christina Grimes and Amy Floresta along with Dr. Randall Oyer, Medical Director, Oncology Program, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, presented the results from the post-occupancy evaluation of the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. In their talk entitled “Iconic Design and Clinical Evidence: You Can Have Both!” the team described how the iconic and biophilic design effectively integrates with the caregiving model to provide a best-in-class experience for every patient visit. Dr. Oyer remarked how the iconic design is a beacon for the community, an important influence in retaining and recruiting staff, and by putting the patient experience first, feels less like a hospital and more like a home environment to many patients and visitors.

Link to Presentation

Ballinger and GW Lead Tradeline Session on Effective Interdisciplinary Facilities

Ballinger Principal Craig S. Spangler, AIA and Associate Principal Rob W. Voss, AIA, LEED BD+C joined George Washington University’s Dr. Can Korman on stage at Tradeline’s 27th annual College and University Science Facilities Conference. Their talk, titled “Mixing Bowls for Science and Engineering: Recipes and Ingredients For Inspiring Interdisciplinary Learning and Discovery Environments,” compared four academic building designs.

By exploring how openness and transparency relate to cost, code, culture and program, Ballinger provided attendees with tools and metrics for planning future interdisciplinary learning environments.

Tradeline is an industry resource that presents high level conferences focused on the latest planning, design, operations and financial thinking for the built environment. This year’s College and University Science Facilities conference was held in Boston, MA.

Link to Presentation

Ballinger Presents at 2015 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo

On October 7, 2015, Principal Lou Meilink, Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE, and Director of Healthcare Planning Dwight Smith, AIA, EDAC spoke at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo.

The surgical suite has historically been broken down into zones or levels of cleanliness.  As procedures become less invasive and expand to other modalities, differentiating cleanliness protocols have also expanded to other disciplines and in the process, grayed the understanding of what is best practice.  This presentation explored the history of clean flow in the medical field.  What is the definition of clean flow and is it fact or fiction?  As an architect, what design decisions influence clean flow in either a positive or negative way?  What are the components of clean flow and the risk factors associated with each?  What are the minimum requirements and are they truly best practice?  With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act linking reimbursements to reductions of surgical site infections (SSI), the effectiveness of clean flow will have an impact on every institution’s bottom line.

Link to Presentation

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 Research on Designing for Multiple Generations Published in Health Facilities Management

Ballinger Principal Louis Meilink Jr., AIA, ACHA, ACHE and Senior Associate Christina Grimes, AIA, LEED AP, EDAC shared their analysis of multigenerational healthcare workers’ preferences in an article in Health Facilities Management.

In an effort to plan and design healthcare workplaces better, Ballinger used post-occupancy evaluation surveys to gather data on generational preferences for different kinds of working environments.

A key finding of their research is the importance of an inclusionary design process. Facilities that are designed to comprehensively address multiple generations result in a more efficient and fulfilled workforce.

Health Facilities Management is a publication of the American Hospital Association, providing comprehensive coverage of health facility design, construction and operations.

Article Link

Ballinger Presents Post-Occupancy Data at Tradeline

Ballinger Principal Jonathan Friedan, PE, LEED AP and Associate Principal Stephen M. Bartlett, AIA, LEED AP presented a talk at Tradeline Research Facilities 2015 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The session, titled “Post-Occupancy: Lab Functionality, Flexibility, Energy,” reviewed post-occupancy findings from three high profile science facilities at Johns Hopkins University, the Wistar Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh.

They presented data on modeled-vs-actual building performance, real-world use of interchangeable features, amenities for collaboration and interaction, and operating details. The presenters explained how end-user feedback can inform decisions on next-generation research facilities to maximize return on investment.

Link to Presentation

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

Tradeline Features Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy Team

Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy team was recently featured in a Tradeline report entitled, “Culture Drives Collaboration; Space Design Enhances It.” The article focuses on Ballinger principal, Keith Mock, AIA and Ballinger designer, Katherine Ahrens, LEED AP, and how they combine an understanding of a client’s office culture with a library of industry metrics and research on space utilization to arrive at a tailored workplace strategy and design.

The report presents a number of case studies across a range of industries. In the case of the University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the University’s desire for a strong sense of community inspired a design that combines lab modules, open collaborative areas, and amenities such as shops and restaurants to promote formal and informal learning.

At a Boeing helicopter factory in Pennsylvania, Ballinger’s Workplace Strategy team was tasked with reorganizing the space to integrate engineers into the factory to optimize collaboration while allowing for sufficient space for focused work.

For Merck’s New Jersey headquarters, Ballinger engaged in a year-long research project that included a 27,000 SF pilot workspace to create a custom solution that reflected the Merck culture and work style.

To learn more about Ballinger’s methods for leveraging office culture to create successful workplace designs, read the full article.