CHICAGO — The new $109 million Center for Advanced Care at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago is designed with the patient in mind. A three-story atrium with daylight flushing into the public spaces, invites visitors when they walk through the front doors of the outpatient facility, and wayfinding is easy and built into the architecture so that there’s no confusion.
“Going to a hospital is not a fun thing. Patients are going there for a reason or purpose that is often scary, and we wanted the building to reinforce an optimistic view so those tensions and anxieties could be relieved,” said Tim Tracey, AIA, design principal for SmithGroupJJR, the Chicago-based design architect on the project.
The design and construction team — which also includes Rock Island-based KJWW Engineering, Chicago-based Thornton Tomasetti and New York-headquartered Turner Construction — broke ground on Feb. 12, and it is slated for completion in early 2015.
The 156,000-square-foot facility will connect with the current medical center and will house three major programs: the digestive health program, Angelo P. Creticos Cancer Center and outpatient surgery. It will feature six outpatient operating rooms with video integration capabilities, 18 prep and recovery rooms, two linear accelerators, 16 infusion bays and a teaching area.
The cancer center currently resides at the southwest corner of the medical center. It will be relocated in the Center for Advanced Care and will make up the garden level and north end of the facility’s first floor. The south end of that same floor will house the digestive health clinic, as well as a pre-surgery waiting area, a health resource center, conference facilities and a café. The third floor will feature an ambulatory surgery suite, which will connect to the existing hospital.
“They are a hospital that’s delivering wonderful care, while limping along with facilities that haven’t supported their growth for some time. This new building offers them an opportunity to really expand some of their core programs. The digestive health program, for example, is going to increase sevenfold,” Tracey said. “This also gives them the opportunity to grow their model over time, which is something they’ve been limited to.”
Located in Chicago’s Lakeview community, the building was designed to represent the residential community by incorporating softer elements into the northern edge of the building site, the part closest to the neighborhood. SmithGroupJJR did this by including a community garden to use as a buffer between the massive building and the surrounding residential buildings. They also created a green wall that became a “vertical interpretation of the green park,” Tracey said. “The third thing we did was try to find materials and proportions that were sympathetic to the residential buildings by making it a masonry brick building with punched windows.”
The building is being built with the goal of achieving LEED Silver certification. Apart from the green wall, 50 percent of the roof will incorporate a green roof system — plus, the use of natural light will release the amount of electricity used during the day.
Perhaps the biggest challenge that Tracey faced on designing the project is creating connectivity between the new building and the existing one. “We were able to capture the spirit of the hospital in this building and were able to enhance the value of the existing building, enhance the value of the entire enterprise. To have a building that’s representational of that quality of care is what I’m most proud of,” he said.