Showcase 2016: University Medical Center New Orleans, New Orleans
In the clinic area, a backlit, perforated metal wall offers an abstracted image of New Orleans’ wrought-iron architecture. To the right, the entry sign features a likeness of artwork from Charity Hospital, UMC’s predecessor, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
UMC’s inpatient rooms are private with en-suite bathrooms (with the exception of those in behavioral health) and decorated with custom laminate graphics and artwork. A glazing system fine-tuned with sophisticated computation tools was used to achieve the optimal balance of daylight, thermal comfort, and energy performance in each room.
The double-height lobby atrium is embellished with a 32-foot-tall chandelier map of New Orleans by artist Ray King. Strategic floor-to-ceiling glazing offers brightness and wide sightlines throughout the facility, complemented by high-end finishes not typical for a community hospital.
UMC’s inpatient towers overlook Canal Street in New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood. Shaped like the letter “E,” the three tower wings ease navigation while drawing daylight into each room.
The opening of the new 2.3 million-square-foot University Medical Center New Orleans in August 2015 helped restore clinical healthcare services to New Orleans and formed the cornerstone of a new medical corridor, all of which were lost during Hurricane Katrina.
The project, submitted by NBBJ, earned an honorable mention in the 2016 Healthcare Design Showcase.
The $754 million project includes three patient towers with 424 beds, a diagnostic and treatment building with conference and research facilities in the center of campus, and an adjoining clinic.
Despite its size, a number of custom touches were employed to honor its New Orleans heritage and connect the community hospital with the population it serves while creating a healing environment. For example, a New Orleans map chandelier hangs above the central lobby, which serves as a middle point between the hospital and clinic wings.
Custom laminate graphics in the patient and exam rooms and photographs in the public waiting area and corridors honor the city’s culture and design style, while French Quarter-inspired magnified ironwork patterns appear on backlit perforated metal walls in the corridors.
“Excellent response to the context and culture of New Orleans,” a Showcase juror commented.
In addition to its pleasing aesthetic, the project houses several resiliency features, including a glass façade that’s capable of withstanding hurricane-strength winds. The emergency department can expand or contract depending on need and all of the hospital’s critical infrastructure, services, and supplies, including the ED, are located 22 feet above base flood elevation.
Anne DiNardo is senior editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.