Healthcare environments offer unique challenges for interior designers, with issues of durability, cleanability and code compliance impacting product selection. Ballinger senior interior designer Gina Weckel shared her go-to healthcare products in the June issue of Contract magazine.
The University of Rhode Island Magazine covered the opening of the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, designed and engineered by Ballinger.
The largest construction project in University history, The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering opened its doors this fall, bringing all the engineering disciplines together in a space that actively supports hands-on, interdisciplinary research and defies departmental silos. The center features state-of-the-art research labs, student-oriented open space, and bold, modern design–transparent, airy, and centered around common work areas.
By Janine Liberty
From the smartphone to the Large Hadron Collider to France’s Millau Viaduct, some of the world’s greatest engineering marvels have been created in the last 20 years. Rapid advances in technology and material sciences have changed not just what’s possible in engineering, but what’s imaginable. Engineers are at the center of an era defined by unprecedented technological capabilities, and their creative and practical achievements are shaping the world in entirely new ways.
Just before classes began this fall, a group of engineering professors gathered in The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering. Representing the full engineering faculty, this group comprises 22 of the college’s 74 faculty members, whose research and teaching will be shaped by the open space, transparent walls, and bridge-like architecture of the new facility.
Engineers are unique. Equal parts creative visionaries and doers, they are able to imagine technologies that will advance human potential, and construct the framework that will transform their ideas into reality. These engineers are also teachers, mentors, and guides—showing the next generation, who will be faced with some of the biggest problems the world has ever known, how to engineer solutions.
A New Space for a New Era of Research
URI’s College of Engineering is positioned to push the rapidly expanding boundaries of science and technology, and its new home, The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, is designed for this new era. With the opening of The Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering this fall,” says College of Engineering Dean Raymond M. Wright, “students can be educated differently, and researchers can collaborate more easily across disciplines.”
“This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today.”
–URI President David M. Dooley
“Increasingly, our engineering students and faculty are not only working in interdisciplinary teams within the college, but with students and faculty from across the University in oceanography, health, pharmacy, chemistry, computer science, and business as well as companies and corporations around the state, region, and the world,” URI President David M. Dooley says.
During preliminary meetings with the project’s principal architect, Terry Steelman, of the firm Ballinger of Philadelphia, Wright explained that he wanted to bring faculty together through research areas, not departments or disciplines. “One thing we know for sure is when we bring people together to solve challenges, it gets done,” says Wright.
The college will be organized around critical interdisciplinary research themes that address some of the biggest challenges the world faces: alternative energy, nanotechnology, robotics, cybersecurity, water for the world, biomedical technology, advanced materials and structures, and sensors and instrumentation.
The Fascitelli Center will support and encourage this interdisciplinary research by physically locating faculty from different disciplines near one another and adjacent to common research and meeting spaces. “Almost nothing in engineering anymore exists solely within a single discipline,” says Steelman. “This building is designed not just to advocate for, but to stimulate interdisciplinary discovery, so students can be educated differently, and researchers can collaborate across disciplines.”
“When the engineering disciplines combine, the sum is greater than its parts. URI engineering is building the future.”
–Dean Raymond M. Wright
“Our faculty are designing and building the infrastructure modern society relies on; finding innovative ways to harness energy from our sun, ocean, and even highways; building new medical diagnostic methods and devices; and racing to ensure every man, woman, and child has access to clean, safe water,” says Wright.
“This new facility will stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary learning and research. It will lead to discoveries that we cannot even imagine today,” Dooley adds.
The new building was funded by two Rhode Island voter-approved bond issues, as well as private gift commitments from corporations including Toray Plastics (America), Inc.; FM Global; Taco; Hexagon; and Shimadzu; and from individual donors, including a $10 million gift from College of Engineering alumnus Michael D. Fascitelli ‘78, Hon. ‘08, and his wife, Elizabeth Fascitelli.
Learning Through Hands-On Research and Fieldwork
Working in robotics is like the Wild West in terms of the opportunities it presents,” says engineering student Robin Hall ‘20. “It’s always innovative, always changing, and there is always something new to work on.” Hall sits in the Intelligent Control and Robotics Lab surrounded by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), robots, spare wires, and computers.
Situated on the fourth floor of the new engineering building, the robotics lab opens up to an expanse of glass that encloses the exterior hallway. From inside, you can look out over the northern edge of the Kingston Campus to the woodlands beyond. Hawks soar above the distant treetops, in effortless flight, while research teams inside devise robotic systems capable of agile, aerial movement.
“Working in robotics is like the Wild West in terms of the opportunities it presents.”
–Robin Hall ’20
This year, Hall has an independent research grant to develop a wall-traversing drone. “My idea employs a four-propeller UAV surrounded by an external cage that can rotate independently from the internal body of the robot. The cage will protect the vehicle and maintain stability.” Working with existing drone and cage designs, Hall’s innovation is to fix two axes and add a motor to the third axis to control the movement. “The quadcopter will behave like a wheel, rolling laterally against a wall surface.”
He’ll work with Paolo Stegagno, assistant professor of electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering, as his grant adviser. “As he designs and tests his UAV, Robin will gain advanced knowledge of control systems,” says Stegagno.
More research involvement–such as Hall’s–at the undergraduate level is important to the college; it means higher-quality senior projects, better internships, and more opportunities for students at all levels to learn from one another. Senior capstone projects are team-oriented and industry-driven, focusing on real-world challenges companies bring in for senior-year students to work on over the course of the academic year.
Making the capstone projects highly visible is meant not only to benefit students, but to attract industry. The projects are already an important point of entry for industry partners, having reliably translated to employment for graduates as well as research and economic partnerships with the University.
College of Engineering alumnus W. Lewis Collier, M.S. ‘86, Ph.D. ‘14, rapid engineering and prototype systems engineering manager for the MIL Corporation, and former technical director at Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation, supervised URI engineering students doing capstone projects at SRI International. He says URI’s capstone program “offers a valuable opportunity for students to apply and hone their engineering skills and learn about real-world problems and how engineers operate in the field.” Adds Collier, the program “is also important to the University’s mission to provide educated workers for Rhode Island businesses.”
A New Space for a New Era of Research
Great design is achieved through a balance of opposites. This 190,000-square-foot, five-story engineering building is a tour de force of design.
During the day, light streams throughout the enormous expanses of open space, constantly shifting in color, shadow, and intensity as it passes through surfaces of varying opacity. This effect is balanced by the density and stability of the building’s metal truss support system–which eliminates the need for interior support columns and allows for uninterrupted, open interiors–and sleek concrete floors.
“The glass of the building is both a metaphor and a physical manifestation of transparency and collaboration.”
—Dean Raymond M. Wright
The trusses, which span more than 150 feet of open space inside and are visible from the exterior of the building, are like those used for bridges, giving the building a bridge-like appearance, which emphasizes its physical siting between the older, humanities-focused buildings in the center of the Kingston Campus and the newer, science and technology-focused buildings on the north edge of campus.
In the new building, capstones will be a significant and highly visible part of the activity. More importantly, points out Wright, students from different research themes will be working in the same space. “You’ll have civil engineering and mechanical and biomedical capstone projects happening side by side.” In the building’s design, the Ballinger team combined the majority of the teaching environments on the first floors, so that students will be exposed to the interdisciplinary nature of the building.
“The quad level is a remarkable place,” says Wright. “We want our students to recognize that it’s their home. There are no faculty offices or research offices on that floor. It’s all about showcasing the hands-on aspects of engineering and building a creative atmosphere for students.”
Great architecture must also balance the experience of the individual with a collective purpose. Fascitelli credits Wright’s vision of bringing the college’s departments together as the driving force behind the building design. “Science as a whole has become so much more interactive, and the world is changing at such a rapid pace,” says Fascitelli. “You really need that cooperation between disciplines.”
Says Wright, “The glass of the building is both a metaphor and a physical manifestation of transparency and collaboration.”
“There’s nothing like this building in our portfolio. It’s unique to URI and I’m really proud of that,” says Steelman, adding that the center is “one of the most provocative and technologically advanced engineering buildings in the country.”
Hall is inspired by the new engineering space. “Being able to work in this space is an amazing upgrade,” he says. “It’s like a temple. It feels like you have the opportunity to do anything here.”
Ballinger was recently named to Interior Design’s list of Top 40 Healthcare Giants for 2019, ranking #35. Ranking are based on healthcare design fees for the 2017-2018 year.
The vast scale of modern healthcare can be overwhelming and designers can play an important role in humanizing the care environment and experience. Ballinger’s approach to designing for healthcare is a collaborative effort to understand a client’s mission, project goals and desires, and to translate those expectations into an environment that goes beyond a functional solution to an exceptional place. We bring passion and leadership to our work to create patient, family and caregiver-friendly environments that foster health and healing.
Ballinger was recently ranked #44 on Engineering News-Record’s List of Top 100 Green Building Design Firms for 2019. Companies were ranked according to 2018 revenue from projects registered or certified by third-party green building organizations such as the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC). ENR reports on top architectural and engineering design firms and construction companies, as well as projects in the United States and around the world.
At Ballinger we have always felt a professional obligation to incorporate energy efficiency and sustainable design initiatives into our design philosophy. In a world of increasingly valuable and constrained resources, Ballinger’s design process considers initial construction costs, flexibility for future changes, as well as energy and other annual operating costs. Our firm seeks to integrate the latest proven technology with exceptional design.
The Ballinger-planned, designed, and engineered Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering officially opened its doors in October 2019. It’s one of the most technologically advanced facilities in the country, featuring flexible spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration, and equipment essential to forward-looking research.
Light streams through the walls of glass and into the enormous expanses of open space in the new 190,000-square-foot, six-story Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering, which officially opened on Monday, Oct. 7.
All of that open, light-filled space is the centerpiece of the building’s design, which University leaders saw as a way to enhance collaboration among faculty and students across all engineering disciplines.
The celebration marked a momentous day in URI history and a way to thank Rhode Islanders for their support of bond issues totaling $150 million to construct the Fascitelli Center and to expand and renovate Bliss Hall, the historic home of engineering at the University.
Michael D. Fascitelli, a 1978 graduate of the College of Engineering and a 2008 honorary degree recipient, and Elizabeth C. Fascitelli, made a $10 million gift in July to benefit the engineering college. Fascitelli credits Dean Raymond Wright’s vision of bringing the College’s departments together as the driving force behind the building design. “Science as a whole has become so much more interactive and the world is changing at such a rapid pace,” said Fascitelli. “You really need that cooperation between disciplines.”
The Fascitelli Center and the improved and expanded Bliss Hall, which first opened in 1928, will strengthen the College of Engineering’s leadership in the areas of clean energy, nanotechnology to robotics, cybersecurity, water for the world, biomedical technology, smart cities, and sensors and instrumentation.
“With the opening of The Fascitelli Center and Bliss Hall, students can be educated differently, and researchers can collaborate more easily across disciplines,” Dean Wright said. “This building is designed not just to advocate for, but to stimulate interdisciplinary connections and discovery.”
Recent Ballinger project, the new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), will host a Grand Opening Celebration and Ribbon Cutting this Saturday, October 12, 11:00 am – 3:00pm. The program will feature remarks from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Miller Jr., and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski. The celebration will include building tours, hands-on life science activities, active learning demonstrations, and GRIT-X: a series of short talks presented by UMBC staff highlighting the importance of diversity in research. Additionally, Volkan Alkanoglu, the artist who created the building’s striking art installation “INFLIGHT,” will be present for questions.
The new 131,000 SF ILSB includes wet bench life science research space, shared scientific research core spaces, new multidisciplinary science teaching labs and active learning classrooms. Office spaces for faculty and research assistants are also included to support the research mission of the building. UMBC is a pioneer in teaching non-major foundation labs in an active learning classroom setting and report improved student outcomes due to team learning requirements that increase attendance and promote peer to peer learning. The four 90-person classrooms included in ILSB expand this teaching style on campus and help promote its success.
“UMBC requested a transparent building that put science on display. The interesting challenge was to create a place that would foster strong sense of community for the researchers, while opening the building to the broader campus community that use the classrooms, teaching labs and shared study spaces. The Commons unify these two user groups into one flowing connected space while maintaining layers of security and privacy.” – Steve Bartlett, Lead Designer
Grand View Health recently announced plans for a new 170,000 SF hospital expansion, one of several components of a 5-year, $210,000,000 investment in providing improved access to high-quality, affordable healthcare.
Planned, designed and engineered by Ballinger, the 5-floor hospital expansion will be constructed adjacent to Grand View’s existing hospital in Sellersville, PA. The design prioritizes wellness for patients, family and staff while integrating state-of-the-art technology and enhanced community connections. The design features a new main entrance and light-filled public space, aimed at improving the patient experience while maintaining the culture and values Grand View Health has upheld since its founding in 1913. The expansion will include an integrated procedural platform with operating and interventional rooms, as well as private inpatient rooms, which will enable Grand View Health to offer all private rooms campus-wide.
Currently in schematic design, the project is scheduled for completion in 2023.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) held a groundbreaking celebration today for a new inpatient hospital in King of Prussia, PA. Ballinger provided architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, and structural engineering services for the 250,000 SF facility, which will significantly expand the services and offerings of CHOP’s current King of Prussia campus. During her remarks, CHOP President and CEO, Madeline Bell, described how the new location will provide convenient access to the highest quality hospital services available.
This new 6-story, 52-room inpatient facility will be the first standalone hospital in the CHOP network not located on the main Philadelphia campus. The facility was specifically designed to offer modern innovation while creating a family-friendly environment. Design features such as open and bright waiting areas, playrooms, ample parking, sun-filled spaces, child life services, and a concierge-like welcome experience bring this intent to life.
A groundbreaking celebration for the University of Michigan’s Edward Henry Kraus Building Transformation, designed and engineered by Ballinger, took place on Friday.
Excerpted from the University of Michigan Record:
Members of the campus community broke ground Friday on an addition to the 101-year-old Edward Henry Kraus Building, which will enable the School of Kinesiology to consolidate its programs and operations in one location beginning in the fall of 2020.
The $120 million project calls for a deep renovation of the existing 183,000-square-foot building, plus a 62,000-square-foot infill addition within an exterior courtyard.
Completed in 1915, the Kraus Building had housed the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology as well as the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Both of those departments have relocated to the new Biological Science Building, which opened this fall.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The George Washington University Science & Engineering Hall won two awards in the Interior Design Awards Competition, Philadelphia Chapter.
The project was awarded First Place in the Institutional and Lighting Design Categories.
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.
Ballinger joined the design industry’s best and brightest last night to celebrate Interior Design’s 10th annual Best of Year Awards, held at Frank Gehry’s IAC Building in New York.
The Science and Engineering Hall at George Washington University received an Honor Award in the Education category. The design of the building creates a new paradigm for inter- and multi-disciplinary research and learning, providing research and instructional labs, office space, team rooms and dedicated interaction space. A neutral palette is accented with bursts of color to energize the space and assist in wayfinding. A continuous flow of materials – terrazzo, granite, concrete and maple – from the common spaces into the teaching and research spaces creates a gradual transition and highlights the building’s mission: groundbreaking science.