Promoting Collaborative Healthcare Through Design

Sept. 23, 2013
How a vertical campus pushes integration and innovation.

At this world-class health facility, care comes straight from the heart.

Designed to last a century, the 476,000-square-foot center stacks the Clinical and Translational Research Center (affiliated with SUNY at Buffalo) on top of the Gates Vascular Institute, owned by the private Kaleida Health system, replacing an older hospital.

The result: a cutting edge, 10-story “vertical campus” that ties together advanced research with state-of-the-art medicine in neurovascular, cardiovascular, peripheral vascular, and electrophysiological disciplines.

“The building’s modern design reflects the high-tech work happening within,” says design principal Mehrdad Yazdani. “With a 220- by 230-foot floor plate, standing 190 feet tall, the building is essentially a cube. We introduced curved edges and corners to soften its appearance. A metal ribbon of the building’s ‘wrapper’ is folded inside and out to echo the interior distribution of spaces and symbolize the fluidity among the collaborative teams.”

Between the clinical and research centers lies the two-level collaborative core, which links medicine with research in a way that forces interaction. Touchdown and conference spaces are integrated alongside procedural labs to push researchers into clinical areas, while the cafe and a collaborative area are placed on a research level to attract clinicians and encourage the exchange of ideas.

“The core is more than the token breakroom often programmed in these types of facilities,” notes David Sass, healthcare planner for Cannon Design, the international design firm that created the innovative facility. “Instead, it consists of a broader menu of spaces that support telemedicine, dictation, and clinical team conferencing.”

The design further spurs collaboration by bringing related, yet distinct specialties together. For example, the ground-level Emergency Department features a high acuity zone to support Kaleida’s rapid care protocol, as well as areas where physicians specializing in differing areas of vascular medicine could gather with their ED colleagues. “This team medicine approach saves valuable time for a patient who goes into cardiac arrest during a procedure to treat a brain hemorrhage,” Sass says.

Merit award

Kaleida Health Gates Vascular Institute/SUNY at Buffalo Clinical Translational Research Center
New Construction

  • Owners: Kaleida Health and State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Architect: Cannon Design (submitter)
  • Construction Firm: Turner Construction Company (Kaleida) and LPCiminelli, Inc. (SUNY at Buffalo)
  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Structural Engineering: Cannon Design

“In the old hospital, we would have been running to the cardiology department, trying to find someone to bring over,” adds Dr. L. Nelson “Nick” Hopkins, III, president of the Gates Vascular Institute and chairman of the neurosurgery department at UB’s School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “Now, within seconds, we had not one, but two cardiologists in the room managing the heart problem while our team went right ahead and fixed the head at the same time.”

The structure utilizes the Universal Grid, a flexible design Cannon Design developed to streamline both construction and future reconfigurations. It uses an 18-foot floor-to-floor dimension instead of 15 or 16 feet, which allows for efficient mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installation and offsets the cost of extra height with energy savings.

“This project was all about uniting the vascular disciplines so synergies can come together,” adds Hopkins. “We are moving innovation forward – there’s nothing like this anywhere in the world.”

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