A More Comfortable Childbirth Unit
by Carilyn Booker
NBBJ has gone beyond common trends in women's healthcare facility design in transforming a rectilinear shell space within an existing hospital into a comforting healthcare environment for childbirth.
The 32,000 square foot (3000-square meter) The Ohio State University (OSU) Doan Hall Maternity Center includes 12 private labor-delivery rooms, a Cesarean-section unit, recovery room, outpatient triage area, and a waiting area. The unit adjoins the previously remodeled neonatal intensive care unit, nurseries, and administration.
While the maternity center features the soft color palette and hotel-like amenities common among newly built women's healthcare facilities, the design team of NBBJ's Columbus office went beyond current trends with curved wall planes, consistently applied details, and natural materials to create a distinctive, welcoming image for the maternity center.
And they have created a facility that accommodates the advanced technology and rigorous use found in a leading university medical center such as OSU.
To counteract the rigid rectangular framework of the facility's sixth floor location in the OSU Medical Center, the design team replaced the hard-edged walls with gracefully curved wall planes along the main circulation corridor.
An accent ledge along the top of the wall reinforces the curve and accommodates indirect lighting. Extending throughout the maternity center, the maple-paneled walls provide a subtle yet recognizable wayfinding system.