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Cincinnati Hospital Awarded Architectural Award For Innovative Design

Cincinnati's Christ Hospital recently won a design award for its new Joint and Spine Center. Awarded by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH), the National Healthcare Design Award focuses on building design and design oriented research. They look for conceptual strengths that solve a multitude of problems including aesthetics and civic, urban, and social concerns, as well as functionality and sustainability.

The Christ Hospital Joint and Spine Center features 7 stories, adding 90 inpatient rooms and 12 surgical suites to the hospital. The Center offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services, interventional pain management services, advanced imaging services, electrodiagnostics, conference and education facilities, and physician and administrative offices.

Henry Chao, one of the award judges, and a design principal with architecture firm Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) in New York, mentioned how the use of red brick and limestone for the new center blends well with the already existing design of the hospital. “To a great degree it's very easy for the architect to say, I'm going to outgun everybody...I can definitely see that building fit into that campus,” Chao said.

Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), the company which designed The Center, worked with patients, medical professionals, and hospital staff to create this state of the art building. Located atop a hill, overlooking the historic area of Mount Auburn, this building incorporates wide open spaces, a courtyard, and a rooftop garden so patients may enjoy the view during their recovery.

The building is also LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, which means it is resource efficient, using less water and energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Low flow plumbing fixtures decrease the building’s potable water use 21%, while special glazing cuts lighting and energy costs by an additional 21%. Along with that, modular bathrooms in adjoining patient rooms are cuddled together, which enable light to filter through the interior of each bathroom.

SOM design partner, Brian Lee, said, “[Christ Hospital is] one of the taller promontories in the city, but like many hospitals in the country, it was really impacted—locked up [by geography]...One of the great services we did was help them unlock the campus.”

Many people hope the new center will attract new residents to this urban area, creating an urban revival and regeneration of the neighborhood.

Christ Hospital states, “The center also enhances our mission to improve the health of the community and provide exceptional outcomes, affordable care and the finest experiences.”