UPMC Unveils Designs, Project Teams Selected for $2B Investment in 3 Specialty Hospitals

UPMC unveiled design plans for three new hospitals that will enhance the cityscapes of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Uptown, Oakland and Shadyside neighborhoods, while radically transforming care for patients.

UPMC’s $2-billion investment will support the construction of the technology-enhanced UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital, UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital and UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital.

The projects were awarded as follows:

UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital at UPMC Mercy
Architect: HOK
General contractor: Mascaro and Barton Malow

  • Groundbreaking in early spring 2019
  • Opening in 2021
  • 410,000 square feet, nine stories of clinical and research space
  • Designed to be accessible for patients with limited mobility, low vision and no vision
  • Collaborative space for clinicians, researchers, educators and industry partners

Chris Downey, AIA, who became one of the world’s few blind architects after losing all sight in 2008, is advising the team on how to design the space to best support the visually impaired. Enriching environments will help patients navigate the building, including lighting related to contrast and brightness, materials and textures that aid people with canes and sound as a wayfinding tool.

The materials used for the building façade—an energy-efficient patterned glass, warm terracotta and brick—respect the architecture of Mercy’s campus and the neighborhood. The landscape acts as an extension of the existing hospital. Visitors are greeted by clear views into the building, signaling that this is a destination for healing, an incubator for medical advancements and a hub for biomedical research.

The building will include an innovative, low-vision, clinic-gym hybrid, which anchors the program with an interactive healing center, exam rooms, therapy stations and a central gym, as well as a fully mocked-up apartment and street lab where patients can go through simulations that teach them critical life skills. Training ramps and stairs in a healing garden on the roof terrace give patients a safe environment in which to prepare for real-life experiences.

UPMC Heart and Transplant Hospital at UPMC Presbyterian
Architect: HGA
General contractor: Whiting-Turner/ PJ Dick

  • Groundbreaking in late summer 2019
  • Projected opening in 2023
  • 900,000-square-foot, 18-story inpatient tower, 620 private rooms
  • Digital technologies that customize patient rooms and improve communication
  • Seamless transition of care as patient progresses through recovery

The project features a park within the hospital that includes a series of terraced gardens that both honor the site’s historic legacy as a place of “healing on a hill” and conceal important services and functional components. The entire entry experience, public circulation, clinical waiting areas, staff and visitor services and patient floors will enjoy park views and the healing power of nature.

Private patient rooms will include a digital device that spans the walls and ceiling. Through this, rooms can be customized, individualizing the healing experience with virtual scenery or personal photos; opting in to interactive rehabilitation classes; interacting with family from home and including visitors in a virtual physician consultation. Staff will use this interactive interface to access patient vitals, input information and consult doctor orders. This technology frees up floor space, improving the patient experience and staff efficiency.

The hospital will train the first generation of physicians and staff to harness the transformative powers of artificial intelligence. This group will interact with the HGA-designed “holodeck,” a nimble, integrated technology space that supports diagnosis, treatment planning, team collaboration, teaching and information retrieval and delivery.

UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital at UPMC Shadyside
Architect: NBBJ
General contractor: Turner Construction

  • Groundbreaking in summer 2019
  • Projected opening in 2023
  • 240,000-square-foot, eight-story inpatient tower, 180 private rooms
  • 160,000-square-foot, four-story outpatient care center
  • Unification of oncology diagnostic and treatment services and research advance

The design seeks to provide a healing space where new and emerging cancer treatments can be delivered seamlessly, using technologies developed in part by the city’s academic and entrepreneurial communities. Partnerships with technology providers will ensure patients have more information at their fingertips about their treatment and more control over their environment. Hospital floors and patient rooms are designed to accommodate robots to deliver critical medical supplies.

The architecture of the hospital is inspired by the Shadyside neighborhood, with a landscape reminiscent of the surrounding tree-lined streets and a glass and terracotta façade designed with sensitivity to the area’s historic houses. Key tenets of the design—now underway—include plentiful daylight, family support spaces, floors that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate new care models, access to park-like settings and connections that make traversing the overall campus more efficient for patients and staff.

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Posted October 12, 2018

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