By Rachel Leber
PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new hospital on May 3. The new “Pavilion” will be located on Penn Medicine’s West Philadelphia campus — located at the former site of Penn Tower — where it will house inpatient care for the Abramson Cancer Center, heart and vascular medicine and surgery, neurology and neurosurgery and a new emergency department. Completion of the new pavilion is expected in 2021.
The new, 16-story, 1.5 million-square foot facility has a budget of $1.5 billion. The design and construction of the project is a collaborative effort between multiple firms. PennFIRST, an integrated project delivery team in Philadelphia is completing the planning and design process for the new hospital with global health care design firm HDR, as well as the international architectural firm Foster + Partners. BR+A is the engineering designer, with construction management experts L.F. Driscoll in Bala Cynwyd and Balfour Beatty Construction in Dallas, also on the project. Additionally, Penn Medicine’s clinical and facilities experts are part of this collaborative team, as well as the input of patients and related family advocates.
The design team had the minimization of patient stress on the forefront of building design for the new facility, with a goal of maximizing patient care and treatment, according to Troy Parks, senior communications specialist at HDR. As such, the hospital is designed to divide into smaller “neighborhoods” to provide a greater sense of community, and create a warmer feeling overall for the hospital. Plentiful daylight and landscape views will be present at this new facility, with the intention of optimizing the health and wellbeing of its occupants, according to Parks.
The new Pavilion will have 500 new private patient rooms and 47 operating and interventional rooms. These patient rooms were designed with “long-term flexibility” so that they can adapt and change over time with “minimal impact to the building fabric,” according to Parks. The rooms are designed in such a way that they can transform from intensive care related needs to a standard room as patients recover over time. Additionally, all private patient rooms have a uniform design to maximize patient care, and include a private bath and a comfortable area for family members and visitors. Telemedicine technologies will be installed into each of the rooms to maximize patient and staff communication, as well as to make “multi-nodal” physician consultations possible.
The new hospital design includes a number of environmentally sustainable features, with LEED certification being pursued for construction of the new facility. Some of these sustainable features include the reuse of water, optimized access to daylight, 100 percent outside air, outdoor green space available building occupants and visitors, and overall high performance building envelope and mechanical systems. Additionally, the surrounding landscape was designed to create pedestrianized routes and landscaped gardens and plazas to enhance not only the patient experience, but also to enhance that of the surrounding community.
The new Pavilion is being designed with a network of public bridges and walkways that will not only make movement around the campus pleasant and easy, but will link the new facility to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the adjacent Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. This network of walkways also easily leads building occupants to the local train station.
“As the nation’s oldest teaching hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is rooted in a history of firsts going back nearly 150 years,” said Ralph W. Muller, chief executive officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System in a recent statement. “Now, with the Pavilion, we’re poised for the next 100 years of advances in patient care,” said Muller.