WRL: Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Expansion

Minimalists will take get great joy from this post about the Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital‘s expansion and renovation by architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky. The hospital, located in Ohio, has about 500 beds, with 72 of them located in the newly built tower, which includes two dozen NICU rooms, as well as general inpatient beds. Healthcare Building Ideas writer  Jennifer Kovacs Silvis recently took a tour of the facility and noted:

Looking more like an art museum than a traditional healthcare setting, yesterday I saw firsthand how white walls, floors, ceilings, and, yes, even furniture, create an environment that goes against what many support as the proven best methods of healthcare design. What I found on our tours were very minimalistic interiors complemented by a standout art program that showcases commissioned works right alongside prints of infamous classics… And it’s silent. From sound-absorbing ceiling panels to offset the hard surface floors to systems running without any noticeable buzz, patients and staff alike are left with a soothing environment absent of distraction, a place where they can focus and be reflective on the medical situations at hand. Reed jokingly called it “un-architecture”—the firm’s simplification of the building design. But it’s really quite the opposite.

From the looks of these images, she’s spot-on. It’s an unusually simple space, with crispy simple art and tons of white, but it’s a breath of fresh air when viewed next to bright and busy linoleum floors and pattered upholstery. As for that art, the most noteworthy commission was for Catherine Opie’s series of photographic large-format photographs of Lake Erie in four seasons. The moody and luminous series was created specifically for the 100-foot concourse of the new tower. It’s a far cry from Opie’s political, challenging gender focused work she’s best known for – but it’s an excellent example of how an artist you’d never imagine including in a healthcare environment can create the perfect piece for one. There’s a nice review of the series here at cleveland.com, and in an article from the Cleveland News-Helard, Opie says:

“For those from the area, this serves as a reminder of all that exists just outside the walls of Hillcrest Hospital — the entire world’s potential and natural beauty”

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