A tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright
Kevin Ruff: There’s a Frank Lloyd Wright house in town, so his spirit was already in the community. In fact, McCook boasts one of the few Prairie-style homes west of the Mississippi River designed by the famous architect. While we didn’t want to replicate his design, we did decide to carry in the guiding principles that made his architecture so great.
For example, Wright replicated architectural elements with attention to detail. Similarly, we designed large bay windows in the patient rooms, which we repeated down the west façade. We took the time to detail out and look carefully at the proportions.
As another example, Wright did a wonderful job integrating his buildings into the landscape. Similarly, we continued the building’s stone base into the landscape, which provides additional seating and definition to areas of the healing garden.
Robert Hailey, AIA, LEED GA: And just as Frank Lloyd Wright used lots of local, natural materials and earth tones, a lot of the materials we used came from the Midwest region. In addition, we brought some of the features on the exterior of the building all the way inside, such as brick, stone, and wood elements.
Ulrich: That’s correct. The public corridor is lined with stone columns, and they mimic the stones on the lower part of the building exterior. The major communication stations are made from Brazilian hardwood, which is also on the outside of the building. The hardwood is used on the base with solid surface countertops and translucent resin panels, which are infused with regional landscape elements in between.
Furthermore, the partitions that separate the public hallway from the outpatient waiting area (as well as the labor, deliver, and recovery [LDR] waiting areas) also use this hardwood on the top and the base, and sandwich the same translucent resin panels.
Hailey: In fact, when you light this transparent, decorative polymer material from behind, it glows, creating a very warm, attractive look.
Dishman: Another major element of the design is daylight, which is the one thing that patients, visitors, and staff compliment every time.
For example, at each end of the corridor on the nursing floor, we designed a 19-foot-high glass curtain wall with large, horizontal roof overhangs, which help bring filtered daylight into the long public corridor. This element helps bleed the lines of inside/outside.
High clerestory windows continue where the glass curtain wall stops and run the entire distance of the 300-foot-long north/south corridor.
Ulrich: Because it’s a one-story building, we had lots of opportunities to bring natural light in, and I think the designers did a fabulous job with that. The natural lighting absolutely pours in and it’s very luminous in the hallways.
Hailey: At the end of the hallway, we have two hospice rooms where we tried to provide a space for larger family gatherings and easy access to the healing garden. It’s a transformed, daylit space that lets your mind be at ease.
Ulrich: A lot of facilities provide just a living room next to the hospice room. In the new patient wing, we’ve also created an open-air, yet private area with further access to the healing garden, so families aren’t confined to a living room space.
The garden is a healing environment for the body, mind, and spirit. It’s an 18,000-square-foot place to escape to, right off the patient rooms and surgery wing. Families can actually go out there at night and comfortably sit around the fire in the garden’s hearth.
Cyndi McCullough, RN, MSN, EDAC: Not only does the entire design have evidence-based design (EBD) research to support it, but you get this great feeling when you walk inside. It’s beautiful, it’s functional, and it’s efficient.
Ulrich: The acoustics in the new space are amazing. The space is also adaptable to the unforeseen ways that healthcare might change. For example, the bathrooms can handle bariatric patients, with an open space plan and a shower with no lip, allowing easy caregiver assistance, if necessary.