Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed December 2005)

Chief administrator: Eric Crowell, President and CEO, Iowa Health-Des Moines, (515) 241-5867

Firm: Baldwin White Architects, (515) 255-3939

Design team: Brenda Long, Executive Director, Rehabilitation & Orthopedic Services; Julie Fenoglio, Manager, Inpatient Rehabilitation; Diane Mahoney, Nursing Supervisor; Linda Smith, Therapy Supervisor; Sherry Stewart, Director, Design & Construction, Owner's Representative (Iowa Health-Des Moines); Gary VanDyke, Healthcare Architect (formerly with Baldwin White Architects)

Photography: Uldis Ilvess

Total building area (sq. ft.): 21,055

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $149

Total construction cost (excluding land): $3,133,247


Younker Rehabilitation at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, has been a Midwest leader in rehab services since 1959. A facility redesign integrates rehabilitation into each patient's day. Elements of nature, in a neighborhood setting, offer an ambience that nurtures and strengthens the mind, body, and soul. Calming shades of green, warm wood grains, and subtle lighting intermingle to capture the true essence of healing. The facility design welcomes families and unites staff, patients, and visitors.

Younkerville, a parklike setting, features a large oak tree, inspiring strength, and a walking track with park benches surrounded by a neighborhood of studios for therapy sessions. An apartment integrates real-life situations: navigating a double door and threshold, opening and closing windows or bifold and sliding closets, using a recliner, or making a full-size bed.

Various walking surfaces offer access to the Community Center where dining, with adjacent practice kitchen, incorporates therapy with food preparation at meals. Recreation and socialization occur through rousing games of darts, cards, or billiards.

Private patient rooms with specially designed desks and mirrors, custom-made wardrobes, and large baths enable patients to learn independence in their own rooms. Decentralized work areas and wireless laptop computers beside patient rooms replace the noisy nurses' station.

Street signs, such as Hickory Lane and Maple Avenue, and “house numbers” aid in practicing directional and navigational skills. Younker Rehab friends say it's a true gem planted amid the cornfields of the Midwest.