Healing with Natural Views
The latest facility tour by the HEALTHCARE DESIGN team took us to Cleveland Clinic’s Richard E. Jacobs Health Center and Ambulatory Center in Avon, Ohio. Opened in 2011, the 125,000-square-foot health center is a one-stop shop for healthcare that will serve the surrounding communities, eliminating the need for patients to travel long distances in order to receive the care they need. The second phase of the two-part project includes a 70,000-square-foot Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) with Women’s Health Suite, a free-standing 24-hour Emergency Department, and an imaging department.
Our guide’s for the tour were Geoffrey Aiken, AIA, LEED AP, project architect, and Michael L. Ball, AIA, regional director, healthcare business development, both from URS Corporation. As the architect, engineer, and planner URS Corp. interpreted the Cleveland Clinic vision to keep the patient experience and connection to nature as the primary focus while also maintaining the health system’s aesthetic principles.
The gently curving driveway flanked by flourishing young pear trees welcomes patients and visitors and leads them to the canopied entrance. The low-e glass façade wraps around the building, enhancing its appearance by day and night and bringing in an abundance of light. Surrounded by acres of thriving wooded wetlands, the health center took pains to only use four of those acres for development so as to preserve the natural habitat as much as possible.
The two-story entrance lobby of the facility is a bright, airy space with a striking staircase to the next floor. The retail, pharmacy, and cafeteria spaces are located in the central light-filled atrium which has an expansive view out onto shaded seating, serene garden, and an aerating pond fountain (the site contains two).
An elevator bank on the south side opens onto each of the four floors with more views to the outdoors. Aiken points out that the aim was to be able to always have a vista of nature that would also double as an orienting feature to help with wayfinding. The waiting areas on each floor are stacked to also give patients a sense of consistency.
As part of Cleveland Clinic’s program, artwork adorns almost every wallspace throughout the facility, giving visual stimulation or calm in the various areas.
Other features include:
· rain gardens and swales used to irrigate landscaping;
· 26 specialties in one building;
· efficient window glazing to reduce heat accumulation;
· 120-foot same-handed exam rooms;
· occupancy and energy-efficient LED lights;
· slim-line casework in the exam rooms with a patient cabinet that houses a ¾ length mirror, clothing hook, shoe storage, and a “docking station” for the privacy curtain;
· recessed remote charting and nurses’ stations;
· roof space for potential green rooftop gardens;
· check-out bays with privacy walls; and
· shared physicians’ offices.
The facility has two aquatic therapy pools , with rehabilitation services and a gym.
As work continues on the ASC, Aiken states that the health center is seeking LEED certification.