Completed: July 2006
Client: Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Architecture: OWP/P, 312.332.9600
General Contractor: Power Construction, 847.214.6330
Total Building Area (sq. ft.): 94,987 (39,533 renovation; 54,454 addition)
Project Cost: $44.48 million
Cost/Sq. Ft. $265.00
It should get the ‘Makeover of the Year’ award,” says Randy Guillot, Design Principal, of the Chicago-based design firm OWP/P, alluding to a project of which the firm is intensely proud, the Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Center for Advanced Care. Renovating the 1967-built radiation oncology/mental health center to become a 21st-century radiation oncology/advanced imaging/breast health outpatient center took all the ingenuity that the design and contracting team could muster, and all the visionary leadership and support that Lutheran General CEO Bruce Campbell and his team at Advocate could offer. The completed project has paid off in many ways, not only winning the distinguished Vista Award for renovation from the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, but also regaining patients the hospital had previously lost to freestanding competitors. Recently Guillot took HEALTHCARE DESIGN Editor-in-Chief Richard L. Peck on a virtual tour of the transformed facility.
“We literally ‘ripped off the face’ of the old building and bumped out the footprint in nearly every direction. In essence, the old building has been engulfed by the new, at a total of about 95,000 square feet. The project, developed around a new vision for ALGH's cancer program, still allows for much of the original building to be reused.
“The exterior glass, with exterior sunshading and mechanized interior shades, opened up the building and let us bring in lots of natural light. Also, at night, the building glows with light as a campus landmark. The building has what I call an ‘assertive’ exterior—we wanted to give the building a design ‘edge,’ for example, by creating a ‘prow,’ suggestive of cutting-edge medical care.
“To bring in even more natural light and assist in wayfinding, we created a three-story atrium that links all three major departments. The interior of this building, compared with the dark, enclosed areas that used to be here, is the difference between day and night.”
“We had three principal design goals related to community needs: accessibility of parking, ease of access to services and timeliness of appointments. Each of the three basic services has its own entrance, and its own clearly defined neighborhood and signage. The building offers altogether a much more accessible and welcoming patient experience.
“The old building was, floor-to-floor, 10'3" at most—about three feet less than today's minimums. There was literally not an extra inch of space, and we had to make some decisions about what to locate where. Although we had to keep the existing linear accelerators in place and running for radiation and medical oncology, we did locate the new medical imaging in the added space. Although we installed state-of-the art HVAC and mechanicals, we had to work every day on creating space for this—for example, mounting HVAC plenums that would normally have lowered the ceiling height by three feet in vertical areas of the walls. We have the advantage of being an integrated design firm with a collaborative mindset and had the project's engineers available to work closely with us on this. Generally, in a project like this, you have to be incredibly attentive to detail. A building like this is quite literally made by people who put it together on-site.”
“We tried for a contemporary, natural palette, a departure from institutional standards. We used natural wood and tumbled stone tile to make a fresh, warm interior reflecting native Midwestern prairies in this region. This project represents the beginning of a new branding for the hospital and is a departure from the character of existing campus buildings. The Center is about optimism, transparency, and commitment to the stewardship of patients and staff. Its design and materials allow light, color, and nature to interact and penetrate deep into clinical spaces. It is fresh, open, and inviting. It embraces and nurtures patients, their families, and staff.”
“This building represents a lot of achievement by our team. Preliminary plans completed within four months, design and construction completed within two-and-a-half years, all coming in on budget. It was a reflection of a lot of communication and teamwork and of a visionary and supportive client team.” HD