News | June 09, 2008

Novel Modular Design Promotes Flexibility, Expansion at University Of Chicago Medical Center

June 10, 2008 – The design of the University of Chicago Medical Center’s New Hospital Pavilion offers flexibility by basing the entire structure on an innovative grid system, a matrix of modular cubes, that can easily be reconfigured as needed to accommodate a range of uses, from inpatient beds to radiology suites to operating rooms, without changing the basic frame of the building.

The architects created that flexibility by using a basic grid system of modular cubes, each one 31.5 feet across and 18 feet high. The repeating modules, 102 on each floor, can be reconfigured as needed. The university said the goal of the design is to be extraordinarily flexible so redeployment and reequipping of space could be accomplished economically with minimal disruption to ongoing operations. Officials wanted a building that could be built and rebuilt over the coming decades to match the changes and advances in medicine.

The University of Chicago’s Board of Trustees gave final approval June 5 for New Hospital Pavilion. The futuristic, $700 million, 10-story, 1.2 million-square-foot New Hospital Pavilion, designed by architect Rafael Viñoly. It is hoped the flexibility of the building can be used to adapt to and drive forward rapid changes sweeping through medicine.

The pavilion will provide a new home for the University of Chicago Medical Center’s most distinguished clinical programs, those that provide complex specialty care with a focus on cancer, gastrointestinal disease, neuroscience, advanced surgery and high-technology medical imaging.

The Pavilion contains 240 private inpatient and intensive care beds; 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms; 12 rooms for gastrointestinal and pulmonary procedures; seven interventional radiology suites; and advanced diagnostic tools including high-resolution high-speed MRI and CT scanners. Major construction will begin in 2009 and the building will open in 2012.

Playing off of the traditional courtyard layout of much of the University of Chicago, the design includes a Sky Lobby on the seventh floor. It will have an elevated public space that breaks the building’s mass into two components, will contain central reception, family waiting areas, a chapel, gift shop, dining areas and other public spaces. Its floor to ceiling glass walls will provide expansive views of the campus and Lake Michigan to the east, Washington Park to the west, and the downtown Chicago skyline to the north.

The top three floors will each contain 80 private patient rooms, including 24 intensive care beds. The sixth floor will house 24 operating rooms, plus preoperative and recovery areas. The fifth floor will be devoted to diagnostic imaging and procedure areas, including interventional radiology, GI procedures, pulmonary/bronchoscopy areas, cardiac electrophysiology, plus patient preparatory and recovery areas. The third and fourth floors will initially be left as shell space, providing expansion room for developing programs.
Retail space, including a café, at the building's ground level will enhance the streetscape, and be open to the public. Maryland Avenue will pass through the building at ground level, serving as a convenient drop-off point. A green roof tops the building.

For more information: www.uchospitals.edu

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