With a goal to bring care closer to the community and expand its network, Mercy Health opened the Rookwood Medical Center adjacent to a major freeway in a central area of Cincinnati in July 2013. The highly visible location, along with a bold façade and triangular site, help reinforce the organization’s new brand identity and vision to the community.

In addition to the street-level emergency department, the 26,000-square-foot health center will also house future physician practices on the second floor.

The site is bound by Interstate 71, low-rise commercial development, and a residential neighborhood. The project’s program was equally challenging: on a 0.85-acre site (that formerly housed one of Cincinnati’s many chili restaurants and four vacant housing lots) designers needed to accommodate the medical center, ambulance drop off, and parking for nearly 100 cars.

Views to the building from the surrounding areas, particularly from the freeway, were important for the image and public face of Mercy Health. A colorful exterior skin—executed in three colors of metal panel—echoes Mercy Health’s brand colors, with a pattern in two shades of blue at the corner most visible from the freeway and transitioning to white panels at the front door.

Transparency at the street level and a brightly lit and intuitive entry sequence engage and welcome patients and the community. Vehicles enter the enclosed parking area beneath the medical center at the rear of the building, while emergency patients arrive at grade level at the front of the building, effectively separating staff and medical office patients from emergency patients and families.

The planning and interior design standards developed for Mercy Health’s new flagship West Hospital (to be complete in fall 2013) are extended to the design of this new facility. Delivered via a fast-track design/build process, the project employed strategies such as prefabrication of MEP racks and headwalls. By using the new Mercy Health planning and design standards for treatment rooms, trauma rooms, nursing station design, furniture and furniture systems, signage systems and materials, the team was able to meet an aggressive design and construction schedule.

The new Rookwood facility creates a memorable image while bringing care into the community setting, supporting the organization’s mission of making healthcare accessible.


Project details:

Project: Mercy Health – Rookwood Medical Center, Cincinnati

Design Architect: Mic Johnson, FAIA – Architecture Field Office, Minneapolis (while with AECOM)

Architect of Record: GBBN Architects, Cincinnati

Total Construction Cost: $10,100,000

Total Building Area (GSF) New: 26,000 SF + parking

Construction Start Date: June 2012

Occupancy Date: July 2013

Design/Builder: Skanska, Cincinnati