Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Designed by: HDR (Architect) | Gensler (Architect) in association with Clive Wilkinson Architects (Interior Architect) and EGG Office (Environmental Graphics)
For client: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Floor area: 111484.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: 年度医疗保健中心

About the Project

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is the first translational research hospital in which clinicians, innovators, and scientists work together in shared spaces while discovering new advancements and “translating” research in real-time. This unprecedented approach means patients have 24/7 access to the brightest minds and latest discoveries, as well as the best opportunity for rehabilitation and recovery. Concepts integral to translational health drove planning and design. The ability labs combine clinical care and research in a shared space to shorten the feedback loop, driving the discovery of new solutions to advance human ability. There are five of these spaces: Think + Speak Lab, Legs + Walking Lab, Arms + Hands Lab, Strength + Endurance Lab, and Pediatric Lab.

Patients begin their transformational experience the moment they arrive in welcoming entrance. Thoughtful spatial design converges with bold, motivational environmental graphics to support the hospital’s brand. Color climbs to a crescendo in the ability labs. Every environment – from gardens and public spaces to corridors and patient rooms – was designed to enhance therapy and encourage recovery. For example, because patients are often lying on their backs, ceilings became a significant design opportunity. Curved walls allow for more natural, frictionless movement, especially for people with physical impairments. The east and west corridors are punctuated by vistas with expressive graphics and offer spectacular views.

What’s unique about it

The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab story isn’t just about a building. Rather, it’s about the philosophy driving the design of the building – to create an environment that will facilitate cultural, behavioral and operational change to accelerate discoveries. This multidisciplinary approach combining clinical care, science, engineering and technological advancement creates a new type of laboratory that enables research developments to become effective treatments more rapidly. Researchers and clinicians measure every aspect of patients’ activities to mine data that will improve outcomes faster and enable these professionals to come upon and share new insights in real-time. Every inch of the building is care; every inch is research.

In the short time that the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has been operating, the immersion of researchers and clinicians with patients has already had a significant impact. This combined effort has led to more research and clinical interactions, which has led to more novel innovations. For example, an electrical engineer collaborated with a physical therapist on the design of a sensor to measure speech and swallowing in recovering stroke patients, a technology that didn’t exist before. The ability labs activate professional curiosity and eliminate inefficient discovery. Professionals aren’t afraid to fail because failure, in its own right, is progress; it brings teams one step closer to discovering a solution. By failing faster, we advance more rapidly.

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