A Healing Journey of Light Supported by Corian®
Thoughtful design focused on the patient and their family has the potential to change the clinical hospital environment into something personal and profound. To that end, the architecture has been developed as a journey of light and healing featuring DuPont™ Corian® solid surface.
Life Affirming Space for Young Cancer Patients
The Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute at University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies & Children Hospital provides the latest medical advancements in treatment for cancer and blood disorders in young patients. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, the Institute specifically caters to infants, children, adolescents and young adults while helping advance the development of new approaches to eliminate the burden of cancer for these generations. Situated on the top three floors of the hospital, it opened to patients in April, 2014.
Angie’s Institute – through a unique partnership with the Livestrong Foundation and the National Cancer Institute – features a one of a kind dedicated outpatient treatment facility. Designed by the national architecture and interior design firm, Stanley Beaman & Sears (SBS), the newly renovated space on the 8th floor of the hospital is one of the first in the country to offer separate, age-appropriate outpatient areas, technologies and amenities for babies/children and adolescents/young adults.
The Institute also includes the seventh floor on which the soon-to-be-constructed expanded inpatient unit for pediatric and young adult patients will feature all private rooms with sleeping accommodations for parents. A rooftop garden on the 9th floor is also an integral part of the design.
“This is a life-affirming space,” said Dr. John Letterio, professor of pediatrics at CWRU and chief of the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at UH RBCH, “where adolescents and young adults can be treated in the most comfortable environment you can create and be able to commune with nature.”
By that, he refers to Angie’s Garden, a magical place on the rooftop of Rainbow’s ninth floor. The lovely, colorful and imaginative outdoor space has multiple seating areas, including one under a rainbow-hued canopy. A sense of peace and respite is enhanced by the greenery and a water garden with bird and cricket sounds. Whimsical features abound, like a moving apple tree sculpture and a giant kaleidoscope.
A Journey of Light Design Theme
SBS architect Brian Peterka led the effort to incorporate a variety of life-affirming attributes and to convey a sense of light into the overall design. A critical element of the design was to promote wellness, comfort and distraction, features of key importance when dealing with the fears of young patients. Understanding that light in hospitals can affect mood, sleep and pain, and ultimately healing were driving considerations in developing a theme of light for the Institute’s overall design: the Journey of Light.
The aim was to create functional yet non-hospital like lighting and treatment areas that were calming, reassuring and even entertaining. Creating elevated spaces utilizing materials that not only radiated physical lightness, but also had the ability to glow and become translucent was the challenge. For Peterka and the team of fabricators and contractors, there was no other real choice but DuPont™ Corian®. As he said, “we could form it and float it”.
The Journey of Light begins in the reception area of the Angie Fowler Institute which is on the eighth floor. The rounded desk is made of solid Corian® Antarctica, which is soft white textured, with large stark white particles.
A 60 foot long curved Welcome Wall made of translucent smooth white Corian® Glacier Ice is illuminated from within with ever-changing neon colors. It gives the illusion of being underwater and is mesmerizing to watch.
To meet the psycho-social needs of one patient age group, a bright, spacious and very cool teen lounge was created. Large windows make the space feel open and unconfined. Decorated in blues, purple and orange, the lounge is furnished with comfortable chairs, ottomans and cozy window seats. DuPont™ Corian® Antarctica with its pebbly grain is used throughout the space on all the counter surfaces while Corian® Glacier Ice is the smooth white material used for the floating ceiling light discs.
There is also an interactive touch screen wall for playing games and watching movies. The wall and frame are made entirely of Corian® Glacier Ice and Glacier White, showcasing how the materials can be formed into virtually any shape or design through thermoforming and routing.
At one end of the lounge is a circular glass room, called Grant’s Place, which can be closed off for privacy. The custom overhead light fixture is also made of Corian® Glacier Ice.
Soft textured Corian® Antarctica and Corian® Glacier White is also used throughout the common areas including care team station booths, and in all the treatment and exam rooms, including the sinks and countertops. To prevent the spread of infection, nonporous Corian® solid surface was the ideal choice for these high traffic / high touch areas – not only easy to clean but easy to maintain.
The Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute is already a destination center and national focal point for adolescent and young adult oncology research and treatment. Their different model of care required an innovative and patient-centered design that explored how DuPont™ Corian® could be formed. General Contractor Ray Krankowski of Mid-Continent Construction worked closely with the design and installation team to address the unique challenges of the design. Tom Gergye of Custom Fabricators spearheaded the millwork and Brian Hudock of Cameo Countertops was the key fabricator who as a team exceeded the expectations of using DuPont™ Corian® as not only a solid, but translucent surface material.