Hospitality Within Healthcare Spaces: Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center

Hospitality Within Healthcare Spaces: Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center

Imagine walking into a hospital and being greeted by greenery, views, natural light streaming in through large windows and open spaces that promote calmness and serenity. These favorable conditions play a crucial role in shaping patients’ experience, making their days a little bit easier while promoting healing. In fact, good healthcare design has been shown to reduce patient stays, infection rates, medication and medical errors, as well as improve staff attraction and performance. A well-designed facility can ultimately transport patients from a sterile, clinical environment to one that is warm, inviting and even uplifting. Such is the case of the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center by HGA Architects, which has been selected among the five winners of the 2022 Shaw Contract Design Awards “Best of Globe” for its innovative approach to healthcare.

Design elements that elevate the interior experience

Located in Akron, United States, the project is a new specialty hospital –one of the only hospitals in the world dedicated to orthopaedic and plastic/reconstructive care. The 165,000-square-foot building has three levels that include 12 operating rooms, 60 private rooms and a quick care outpatient component. Merging aesthetics, comfort and functionality, the hospital stands out for a series of design elements that elevate the interior experience, recognizing its ability to influence patients’ lives.

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© Kendall McCaugherty

One of the project’s unique architectural features is the internal courtyard on level three, where the patient rooms reside. As the architects explain, it offers exterior views to each room and “maintains an efficient footprint and clear circulation for patients, family and staff.” The exterior also stands out for a series of circulation paths that are strategically carved into the building to provide covered experiences for patients and family members as they approach and depart, fostering a sense of security and closeness.

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© Kendall McCaugherty

Another key element in the design is the double-height space above the dining area, which creates a feeling of openness and airiness while providing a connection to the surgical waiting area. Coupled with eye-catching details such as dramatic pendants hanging from the ceiling –as well as access to natural light and views–, the space is elevated to create a healthy, practical and aesthetically appealing environment that seeks to prioritize well-being. These are precisely some of the qualities that caught the judges’ attention:

The planning is masterful in the way daylighting is used throughout the hospital. Scientific data conveys that views to nature and light impact the healing process in a positive way. The patient room has masterful use of materials, appropriate for the healthcare setting. The overall consideration of comfort for the patients, families and staff translates into the community for this institution. – Karen S. Miller, Head of Interior Design, Design Leader, NCIDQ at Gulf Consult

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© Kendall McCaugherty

Designing a hospital that feels like a hotel

With all of these distinctive spatial features, the design team was able to fulfill the client’s main desire: “to provide patients a hospital that did not look or feel like a hospital, but rather a hotel.” Inspiration was therefore drawn primarily from hospitality environments instead of healthcare projects. This way, as juror and Principal at Marchese Partners Rulla Asmar suggests, “This project breaks away from a clinical appearance and focuses on comfort and healing for the occupants.”

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© Kendall McCaugherty

Many unique products and finishes were used throughout the building to serve that purpose –of course, all while maintaining a level of infection control to ensure patient safety. This includes the use of the Honest and Shelter carpet tiles in colors Espresso and Greige. Both add warmth and comfort in different ways; whereas the former is reminiscent of a graceful woven fabric, the latter resembles the supple texture of a sweater. The space also features rich and saturated hues, gold accents within lighting and fixture finishes, bleach cleanable jewel-toned velvet and pastel upholstery, and leather look selections. Divider panels and glass installations provide varying textures and privacy, adding to this dynamic material palette. In addition, the hospital showcases local artist collaborations in both public and patient areas to encourage community engagement and participation.

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© Kendall McCaugherty

Of all buildings, hospitals and healthcare facilities should be the ones that are built with the greatest care and imagination. The Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center embraces this mission through a series of forward-thinking architectural measures that aim to help people heal faster and raise the bar for healthcare design.

Celebrating design and its ability to influence our everyday lives, the Shaw Contract Design Awards aim to recognize spaces that inspire new –and sustainable– ways of living, working and learning. After evaluating each project’s methods and contributions to the built environment, the five winners were chosen by panels of design professionals from across the world.

For more information on this year’s "Best of Globe" winners, visit Shaw Contract’s Design Awards program.

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Cite: Valeria Montjoy. "Hospitality Within Healthcare Spaces: Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center" 25 Jan 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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