Paoli Hospital in suburban Philadelphia is undertaking the expansion of its campus. The four-story addition will provide a new entrance, 124 patient rooms including 16 Critical Care and 14 Progressive Care beds, a new Operating Suite, and Emergency Department. Its exterior is being designed to incorporate similar materials used in the existing buildings. The interior presents comforting, healing, and healthy spaces, where patient care and safety have been paramount considerations in the design process.

The new atrium maximizes the use of daylight. The choice of materials, colors, furniture, and furnishings are all being selected to create a welcoming introduction to the hospital. Public spaces speak immediately to a warm and caring environment, an aesthetic that is carried throughout the new facility.

Evidence-based design—the implementation of strategies to directly impact improved patient care and safety—has been a significant consideration in the design process. The many carefully considered evidence-based design concepts include planning for all-private rooms, thereby decreasing the number of individuals accessing a room and reducing exposure to hospital-acquired infections; right-side and identical layout of rooms, reducing medical errors; outboard location of bathrooms off the headwall and handrails from bed to bathroom, decreasing the possibility of patient falls; and designing two-zone patient rooms to allow for easy staff access while comfortably accommodating family.

Project category: Project in progress (June 2009)

Chief administrator: Barbara Tachovsky, President, (610) 648-1433

Firm: RDLA, (215) 545-8500

Design team: Robert Mainwaring, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP, Vice-President-in-Charge; Joseph McCaffrey, AIA, Design Architect; Ousama Mortada, Design Architect

Photography: Matt Wargo Photography

Illustration: RDLA

Total building area (sq. ft.): 285,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $333

Total construction cost (excluding land): $95,000,000

Paoli Hospital administration and staff’s objective has been to create a healing and safe environment that will provide optimum care for its patients. For the design team, seamless integration of aesthetic and function will achieve that end.