Foster + Partners Breaks Ground on new Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania

Foster + Partners has announced the groundbreaking of a new $1.5 billion hospital for the University of Pennsylvania’s West Philadelphia Penn Medicine campus. Working in a multi-firm collaboration called PennFirst (with healthcare design firm HDR, engineers BR+A and construction management teams from L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty), the architects have designed a 16-story facility known as “The Pavilion” to house 500 private patient rooms, 47 operating rooms and a total of 1.5 million square feet of healthcare space.

Located on the former site of Penn Tower, the new facility will contain a cancer inpatient care center, the department of heart and vascular medicine and surgery, the neurology and and neurosurgery departments, and a new emergency wing. Key to the hospital’s design was flexibility that will allow the building to adapt to the needs of the rapidly-evolving healthcare field, and connectivity to the wider medical campus.

Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio and Senior Executive Partner who is leading the project said, “When setting out to design a hospital, the requirement is normally to improve on the existing model. Instead, we questioned this approach. The effort and determination of our whole multidisciplinary team to investigate every single detail of healthcare delivery and hospital design to drive change will lead to a hospital that makes a new benchmark for the future of healthcare.”

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

The Pavilion centers on patient experience by “minimizing stress and maximizing careful and considerate treatment.”  This is evident in the architecture, where landscaped gardens and plazas lead visitors through easily-navigable pathways through the campus. The gentle curves and articulation of the façade also help to provide a welcoming presence that resonates with the surrounding site context.

“The building tells a story of innovation, rethinking patient care by minimizing stress and maximizing careful and considerate treatment,” explain Foster + Partners. “From the moment of arrival, the patient experience is reframed by breaking down the scale of the hospital into smaller neighborhoods which provide a sense of community. The hospital is designed for health and wellbeing providing daylight and landscape views to patients and visitors and the ability to personalize each room.

The Pavilion will be the largest largest capital project in Penn’s history, as well as one of Philadelphia’s most ambitious healthcare projects.

News via Foster + Partners.

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Cite: Patrick Lynch. "Foster + Partners Breaks Ground on new Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania" 05 May 2017. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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