After a tragic school stabbing event at Franklin Regional high school, Forbes Hospital identified patient transport as a primary concern. Movement of patients between the facility’s critical care units happens in a vertical manner. The hospital had no patient-dedicated elevators that could provide direct connection between the Emergency Department, the Surgery Department, the Intensive Care Unit, Labor and Delivery, as well as other units. In a place where every second matters, a new elevator tower project was conceived to transform the vertical flow in the hospital.
The utilitarian function of transporting patients in an efficient manner had to be accommodated by a unique design solution. The location of the addition offered numerous design opportunities.The eight-story addition over-looks the rolling hills east of the city of Pittsburgh. Known for scenic variation throughout the four seasons, Western Pennsylvania vistas are a contemplative distraction for family members coming or going from visits with their family members.
Recently expanded to offer the latest medical innovation and procedures, Forbes Hospital is a 349-bed facility with 15,000 inpatient admissions 12,000 surgeries, and nearly 50,000 emergency department visits annually. Spurred by the increased competition in the geographic market conditions with the opening of a new acute care hospital in the area, Forbes Hospital sought a visible indicator that their facility reflected the state of the art medical expertise that was available within. The elevator tower became that opportunity for an iconic image.
A delicate balance of transparency and opacity gives a contemporary, forward-thinking expression to the exterior façade of the tower. Utilizing a perforated metal screening over glazed exterior walls creates appropriate levels of shade and visual interest in both the interior and exterior. The patterns create a dramatic interplay of light and shadow. Playful nighttime lighting transforms the tower into a visual beacon as a care center in the community.
The use of clear and bronze anodized metal as an element on the building’s façade introduces a departure from the traditional, buff brick that comprises the majority of the surface area of the existing hospital. Bronze panels that match the color of the window frames of the existing building help to make a subtle connection. The new Emergency Department, with full transparent glazing into the waiting area and a deep overhang for patient drop-off, signifies a new contemporary entrance sequence for visitors to the hospital.