John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah [Salt Lake City, UT]
Project category: New construction (completed August 2006)
Chief administrator: Wayne Imbrescia, Executive Director, (801) 585-6679
Firm: FFKR Architects, (801) 517-4342
Design team: Rick Frerichs, Principal-in-Charge; Russ Bachmeier, Project Architect; Jim Williams, Production Manager; Mark Wightman, Interior Designer (FFKR Architects); Clinical Programming, MDI
Photography: ©2006 Douglas Kahn; ©2006 Paul Richer, Richer Photography
Total building area (sq. ft.): 210,000
Construction cost/sq. ft.: $190
Total construction cost (excluding land): $40,000,000
The John A. Moran Eye Center is committed to the goal that no person with a blinding condition, eye disease, or visual impairment should be without hope. To this end, the Center's efforts include both pioneering laboratory research and state-of-the-art clinical treatment.
A key project design goal was for the architecture to reflect the separate identities but unified effort of these two programmatic elements. From a functional standpoint, the overriding challenge was to provide for the security needs of the research facilities and the wayfinding simplicity necessary for clinical patients, while at the same time creating a unified environment that facilitates the development of a common-cause synergy among researchers, clinicians, and patients.
Responding to the two distinct programmatic elements, the building is organized into a six-story Research Pavilion and a five-story Patient Care Pavilion separated by a glass enclosed atrium, which serves as the primary entry into the Center. The building's circular entry plaza is visually reinforced by the concave radius of the entrance façade. The atrium, which leads from the entrance to the garden plaza, is crossed by bridges at each level that are symbolic of the path that leads from world-class research to sight-restoring interventions and treatments for Moran Eye Center patients. The atrium's transparency allows direct visual connection between the Clinical and Research Pavilions. The common vertical circulation spine is located next to the Research Pavilion, and the adjacent atrium-balcony seating areas feature panoramic views, allowing interaction between clinicians and researchers to occur naturally.
Ease of patient use was one of the foremost design goals. Patients are advised of their treatment floor at the reception desk on the atrium entrance floor. The ambulatory surgery center is located on Level 2 of the Clinical Pavilion, while the Center's 52 examination rooms are arranged in 12 clinics on Levels 3 and 4. From the patient elevators located in the common circulation spine, the check-in desks on each treatment floor are immediately apparent across the atrium bridges. Extensive research was done with the Center's Visually Impaired Patients Group to design and select interior materials, color schemes, and furnishings. To enhance wayfinding, high contrast was employed throughout in flooring borders, door frames, and furnishings. Patient waiting areas are located to take full advantage of the mountain and valley views.