FKP Architects' Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital project: Designer Forum - Oct 16
By Kristin Ledet
Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital in Katy, Texas has experienced rapid growth in the few years since the opening of its replacement facility in 2006. Serving the greater Katy area and West Houston, the hospital provides a wide range of medical services to its patients. To reinforce its commitment to quality, and to enhance and expand its Centers of Excellence, Memorial Hermann leadership selected FKP Architects to provide design and architectural services for the building expansion and renovation.
FKP designed the new six-story tower, which has a 24-bed outpatient unit and 60 new inpatient beds, including 20 intensive care beds and a 15-bed neonatal intensive care unit. While the expansion includes new Life Flight helicopter crew quarters and 5,500 square feet of clinical lab space, the renovation comprises an expanded surgical center, women’s center and emergency center as well.
The primary goal of the aesthetics in the expansion was to create an extension of the main hospital to the new adjacent bed tower and provide a seamless transition between buildings for all patients, staff and visitors. This involved a significant amount of matching the existing aesthetics to create similar experiences in both buildings. It is often challenging to provide consistency between buildings built at different times, as product availability and costs change frequently.
Fortunately, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, which runs over a dozen Texas hospitals, utilizes a system of interiors best practices to support its commitment to delivering the highest quality patient-focused healthcare environment. The best practices establish a consistent level of quality and durability throughout all of the campuses and recognize a timeless design strategy to respond to these aesthetic challenges. Products are chosen by their availability within the marketplace, ease of maintenance, cost and installation.
Flooring aesthetic solutions are often neutral in nature to maintain a pleasant visual for all patient and visitor ages and populations. Wood-look flooring products are utilized to create a warm and welcoming environment in patient waiting and healing areas. Multiple flooring products are included in the guidelines to give designers the flexibility to select products that are appropriate to the specific campus’ aesthetic and budget landscape.
At the beginning of the project, the design team entered a phase of discovery to identify which products in the existing hospital were performing successfully and which products were failing. Detailed conversations and observations were held to better understand how the environmental services team performed daily and routine maintenance with the current flooring solutions. The design team also investigated which products from the original building were still available on the market and where products needed to be re-selected due to availability, performance and overall aesthetic improvement.
In a budget-conscious design approach, the design team was challenged to provide an affordable alternative to the adjacent existing poured terrazzo, but keep the similar aesthetic in the entry lobby spaces of the expansion tower. The new lobby in the West Tower would ultimately create a secondary first-impression space for patients and visitors. The design team selected a terrazzo tile product from Nurazzo’s Crystal collection, which successfully unified the flooring aesthetic between buildings and allowed for faster installation than traditional poured terrazzo. Byline, a Shaw Contract carpet tile, delineates the seating areas in the lobby and suggests a space for respite within the busy traffic areas.
The neonatal intensive care unit was dedicated to reducing noise levels and providing an uplifting and healing environment for the mothers and their babies. The corridors integrated an Interface carpet tile, Cubic Colours, to provide sound absorptive qualities in a high traffic nursing communication zone. The Cubic Colours pattern was selected for its non-directional installation quality and bold color to bridge the adult and pediatric nature of the environment.
The patient rooms incorporated a wood-look sheet vinyl to create a warm, healing environment within the sensitive area. Lonseal’s Lonwood Natural flooring was selected because of its low lifecycle costs, inherent antimicrobial resistance, sound absorption and underfoot comfort. Additionally, the Lonwood product’s Topseal finish provided an extra wearlayer, further protecting the floor, reducing scuffing and simplifying maintenance. The labor and delivery rooms also incorporated the Lonseal Lonwood product to enhance the warm aesthetic of the rooms for the women, while also providing a seamless flooring application for clinical purposes.
Flooring for operating rooms within the Memorial Hermann system at the time of the Katy expansion tower design were being studied for a system-wide standard. Many locations were operating on poured epoxy floors. Studies and mockups were generated to test different sheet material products—their seaming capabilities, cushion and cleanability. The solution adopted for the Katy renovation was Nora’s Noraplan Sentica 3mm rubber sheet material. Sentica provides stain resistance, clean tone-on-tone visual and minimal variation in order to maintain tracking of any loose instruments or equipment. A pattern on the floor was created to identify the visual placement of the operating table and utilized a blue accent color to provide visual interest in the sterile environment.
As the patient and visitor experience continues through the hospital, the patient rooms and intensive care rooms are set in a neutral palette with calming accents of blues and greens to supplement the healing nature of the environment. The neutral flooring palette also provides a timeless solution to allow other features of the room to adapt over time without altering the flooring solution. Flooring products were chosen based on ease of maintenance as well as continuity of product and maintenance procedures throughout the hospital.
Mannington’s SolidPoint VCT is used in all corridors and in patient rooms where seamless flooring applications are not required. All intensive care units use Mannington’s BioSpec homogeneous sheet vinyl with heat welded seams to continue the neutral and timeless color aesthetic through all floors. BioSpec MD was chosen for its high performance and inherent antimicrobial technology. The existing hospital was designed using BioSpec, and the hospital embraced the enhanced features of Biospec MD as the standard seamless flooring product for the expansion. Entrances to all patient rooms were emphasized with an accent flooring pattern as a wayfinding technique to easily identify room entrances and stand apart from adjacent support spaces along the corridor.
Waiting rooms are located on each floor, providing a respite area for each department’s visitors and families. Located off the elevator lobbies, the waiting rooms provide access to natural light and a calming environment. Carpet is used in the space to create a more intimate experience and an escape from the adjacent clinical environments. Shaw’s Byline carpet tile was continued from the first floor public lobby and provided the opportunity to bring in color and pattern in the furniture upholstery selections that coordinated with the carpet accent colors. The same carpet was used throughout the existing hospital and expansion to allow the environmental services team the ability to maintain one single product style with local attic stock for waiting rooms, lobbies and all private offices within the facility.
For healthcare environments, flooring selection can often be the most challenging aspect of the entire project. Consideration must be equally paid to the performance, cost, overall visual aesthetic and long-term maintenance. The Memorial Hermann best practices program incorporates all of the important selection criteria requirements to ensure quality, safety, maintenance and cost are at the forefront of the design solutions. With the help of flooring manufacturers continuing to the push the aesthetic and performance boundaries available in the product selections, the design team was able to specify the appropriate products while still maintaining color and visual enhancement to provide a healing and calming experience to the patients and families of Memorial Hermann Katy.
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