Installing resilient sheet vinyl across 200 acres and in seven buildings of up to three floors is no small feat, but that’s exactly the challenge faced by the team at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital in Chicago and Lake Forest, Ill. The project is an example of how a new building can support best practices in patient care. Not only does the space support the clinical needs of rapidly advancing healthcare, but the interiors provide a life-affirming atmosphere that connects people to nature instead of an old fashioned, sterile hospital environment.
Everything—from the organization of the space and the experience traveling through the building to the individual treatment care areas—was designed with the patient experience in mind, according to Abigail Brueggeman, project manager for Northwestern Memorial Hospital System. The interiors are grounded with a soothing neutral palette that uses color for wayfinding cues and concentrates bright color and visual interest in a palette composed of nature images and abstract compositions. Hospitality principles and attention to comfort were also studied and implemented in waiting areas and patient rooms.
“Our goal for the project was to create a facility that would deliver the best patient experience, provide world-class healthcare, respect the environment of our campus, and become a destination for wellness while strengthening the ties to our local communities,” Brueggeman said.
An important component of the project and the palette was the flooring, which featured Teknoflor Forestscapes and Teknoflor Classic Cut resilient sheet.
“We were able to take cues from other projects in our health system and study what was working for those spaces and tap into a wealth of information about materials and finishes we have used at our other buildings,” Brueggeman said. “In the end, we made decisions on lifecycle principals, not just implementation costs.”
The Lake Forest Hospital replacement had several challenges during the value engineering phase that forced the team to work closely with the entire group of contractors and professional staff on the project.
“At one point in the project, we were looking very closely over budget and had to make some hard choices to bring the project back in line,” Brueggeman said. “That was a painful point, but it forced us to be very purposeful in how we selected the finishes, and in the end, we finished without sacrificing the quality or durability of the materials.”
Brueggemann said her team has a lot of experience with flooring, dealing with cleaning regimens, failures, along with discussions about patterns and style longevity.
“We have tested out no-wax floors, floors that require periodic maintenance, and have had more failures than we can count,” she said. “When you find products that have great style, as well as longevity, and are easily maintained like the Teknoflor line, it is a win-win for everyone. It allows us to build our finish palettes around something that has staying power and always looks great. That makes my job easier and my cleaning staff is appreciative that they are considered.”