Region's natural beauty inspires hospital's comforting theme
Project Profile: Kadlec Regional Medical Center
CLIENT: Kadlec Regional Medical Center
WHERE: Washington State
GUIDE Architects, Dallas, TX
Tower & Garage Architect: Davis Partnership Architects, Denver, CO
A river. A vineyard. An orchard. A mountain.
Maybe not the first scenes that spring to mind when you think about a hospital environment, but for Kadlec Regional Medical Center, organizing their growing campus around the region's natural signatures made perfect sense.
The growing Richland, Washington-based health system began working with Takeform in 2009 on a wayfinding system that could help patients and visitors easily navigate through their main campus' four pavilions.
“The linear configuration of the facility created a significant wayfinding challenge," says Susan Bennett, Experiential Design Strategist at Takeform. “The facility is one long building with a single long corridor served by multiple entrances. Those entrances were hard to identify—and to remember."
“Our strategy for the pavilions was to have unique colors and icons working together, so each zone would be distinct, recognizable, and memorable," Susan says.
The overall theme mirrors the personality of the region the hospital calls home.
“All four pavilions reflected their local landscape," says Amanda Vereecke, Project Manager at Takeform. “Plus, the palette is soothing and works for all of their audiences, from patients to visitors to staff."
This fresh wayfinding and experiential graphics system for Kadlec was conceived as part of Takeform's most recent projects for the campus, which included signage for a new parking garage and ten-story tower with a donor recognition system incorporated into a seventh-floor terrace.
“When we did the parking garage and tower, we established the new graphics standards," says Nicole Dresser, Process and Procedure Analyst at Takeform. “Then we adapted those new standards to the entire hospital."
Kadlec called Takeform for the project because they knew they already had a team familiar with their organization, from their architecture and traffic patterns to their priorities and brand.
“The beauty of this project was that we had previously collaborated on a standards program" Nicole says. “Having an established, working platform benefited everyone on the team."
When you consider the 24/7, fast-paced, high-demand environment of a hospital, there's little tolerance or time for outside teams obstructing critical areas of work. So, when it came time to install the new graphics throughout the space, having Takeform on site to coordinate was vital.
“It took a lot of coordination," Nicole says. “We had a project manager on-site for most of the installation, making sure the people who were working ahead of us—painters and signage removers—were on track."
A couple weeks in advance, every hospital unit manager knew what date and time Takeform would be doing the install, so they could communicate to their staff. Takeform provided temporary vinyl signs that could be wiped down (thus easy to sterilize). The patch-and-paint team put them up as they progressed. As a result, the temporary signs were up within a short window of the old signs being removed—so no patients or visitors would ever struggle to find their way around.
Then there were spaces that required overnight installs, such as the hospital's ORs, which also demanded an exceptional level of precision and care.
“Because the ORs are sterile environments, we had to wear scrubs and make sure we didn't carry in anything that could contaminate the area," says Amanda. “We had to take apart our packaging and only bring in clean materials—no dust on the tools we were using."
Familiar scenery. Comforting space.
For the region's residents, Kadlec has become a place of confidence and comfort. And by echoing the area's nature in a smart, well-planned execution, patients and visitors can find their way around the campus without a compass or a field guide. The experiential graphics from Takeform that run through their space help ensure everyone arriving feels safe, sound, and headed in the right direction. Just as it should be at a trusted hospital.