A More Comfortable Childbirth Unit
The soft arcs of the wall planes also serve as a common design element, appearing in the glass-inset windows in the facility's door, in the stainless steel corner guards of the walls, in the floor patterns and bed canopies of the patient rooms, and in the sweeping arc of the reception desk.
Beauty Meets Function
The NBBJ Healthcare design team also incorporated architectural details that serve both aesthetic and functional purposes. The walls are simply detailed with a grid system of reveals and highly durable, matching handrails made of 2.5-inch (6.3-centimeter) maple dowels with stainless steel brackets.
Large, curved stainless steel corner guards on the walls offer a striking, contemporary appearance, while providing protection against damage from carts or objects that may run into them.
The 20-foot (6-meter) vaulted ceiling in the maternity center's corridor is fitted with standard steel-framed clerestory windows to bring natural, indirect lighting into the corridor and adjacent staff areas and to increase the sense of spaciousness.
In place of the standard institutional plastics commonly used in healthcare facilities, Lisa Baker, the project's interior designer, says the design team selected natural materials such as hardwoods and stone throughout the maternity center. Their intent was to convey a serene, timeless image while providing the durability needed in a heavily used facility.
"We lined the walls with marmoleum, a linoleum-like product made with linseed oil and other renewable resources," Baker explains. "It offers an incredible range of color, protects walls against damage, and yet is easy to maintain."
An Experience to Remember
Special attention was given to the design of the labor and delivery rooms to make the birth experience more pleasant for women and their families or support people, and to accommodate the leading-edge technology available at the OSU medical center.
Hotel-like in appearance with maple walls and flooring, each room features a private bath, entertainment center, and a sofa bed and gliding chair in matching maple.
Curved gypsum board and cove lighting are combined to create pseudo-canopies above the patient beds, reinforcing the non-institutional look and feel of the rooms. Lighting and air controls are individually controlled at each bedside, allowing patients to have control over their environment.
A sweeping curve in the wood floors of the patient rooms provides visual interest. All 12 patient rooms provide outside views to the OSU campus through oversized picture windows.
Technology in the Background
Each patient room is also sized to accommodate the specialized equipment, gases, and other items that could be needed during the birth process. Any room can immediately be converted to handle an emergency procedure. When not in use, equipment is easily tucked away into specially designed, built-in maple cabinets, headboards, and niches.
Staff efficiency and patient care were also important factors in developing the design of the Doan Hall Maternity Center. Caregiver stations are located between each patient room, allowing the staff to be more mobile and patient-focused. Monitors sit on ergonomically measured, adjustable stands built into wall alcoves and constructed of the same light maple wood as the walls. Storage drawers are conveniently tucked into the side of each unit.
NBBJ received a Modern Healthcare design award for the project as well as a regional design award from the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
NBBJ currently has numerous healthcare projects underway across the United States and around the world. In addition to its healthcare expertise, NBBJ has strong specialty practices in corporate design, commercial design, sports and entertainment facilities, higher education, justice, research and advanced technology, retail, senior living, urban design and planning, graphic design, and interactive design.
Carilyn Booker is a freelance writer in Dublin, Ohio specializing in architecture, healthcare, and technology.