Noelker and Hull assembled relevant standards of healthcare design with higher-end hospitality luxury into a cohesive, welcoming environment that gives the facility a new identity as its reception pavilion.
‘Stories from Light’
Commissioned by Massachusetts artist Stephen Knapp during the original construction of the facility, the Stories from Light light sculpture establishes a distinctive focal point in the reception area that creates a rainbow of color on the ceiling and disperses soft, glowing colors onto adjacent surfaces. Created in dichroic glass and stainless steel, the sculpture’s many attributes, iridescence, prismatic colors, and reflectivity were a constant in the interior space design.
To develop an appropriate renovation solution, the architect, interior designers, and LGH’s project management team concentrated on material properties and their ability to reflect, emit, and absorb light.
Finding a solution for the space
The existing building’s rigid form and structure, and limited 7,400-square-foot space divided among triage, delivery, family pavilion, and adjacency requirements for security, guest services, volunteer offices, and the gift shop were significant contributing factors to the interior design solution. Though designing without theoretical financial boundaries proved to be a challenge, the budget was duly controlled through deliberate selections of local and regional materials that closely resembled more expensive materials.
However, the unlimited budget ideal spurred the team’s creativity and design approach in removing the constraints of typical budget-oriented construction. As the vision took shape, the financial expense was managed through careful coordination among the senior LGH leadership, the construction manager, architect, and interior designer.
The lobby’s existing architectural design integrated a rigid cylindrical ceiling with circles emanating throughout the space, from bulkheads, existing floor patterns, and the overall plan shape. The circle form was forcefully imposed on the original design, directing the interior design team to focus on softening its influence—while not ignoring it—to create a more organic flow without oversimplifying the space. The multi-piece light sculpture was carefully protected during the multi-phase project, with only the artwork’s illumination fixtures removed during the renovation.
Solving an acoustical challenge
The decade-old cylindrical space functioned as a large drum, trapping sounds from adjacent space and reverberating noise into the central cylinder of the layout. Without structurally altering the space, a cone of silence was unattainable. LGH recognized that the existing design—both in shape and material—did little to create a soft acoustical environment for the central patient and visitor reception and waiting areas.
With the client’s directive that the light sculpture not be moved and the ceiling above it not be altered, the design team worked to rectify the issues through plan layout and material selection. Noelker and Hull integrated carpeting, sound-absorbing ceiling panels, free-standing partitions, and fabric-wrapped acoustic panels around the edges of the upper cylinder to mollify the acoustics.
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