National Wear Red Day

E4H participated in Wear Red Day on Friday February 1, 2019. This initiative resonates with E4H as it helps further the mission of their clients to raise awareness and education to the topic of Heart Health.

Dallas, TX

Forth Worth, TX

Washington, DC

 

Boston, MA

NYC, NY

 

Nashville, TN

 

Burlington, VT

 

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Site Visit

E4H aims to expose staff of all phases of architecture including the working construction sites. Every so often, we’ll gather a team to head out to a current project site for a visit. While on site, we’ll review lessons learned, common construction practices, as well as any interesting or unique items specific to that project.

Recently a group from the Boston office visited the Wentworth Douglass Pease MOB sites, in Portsmouth, NH. The group toured two MOB buildings in various stages of construction. Building A is a 2-Storied 25,000 SF building that is roughly 80% complete. Building B is a 3-Storied 60,000 SF building that is roughly 30% complete. Below are the lessons learned from the site visit.

“This site visit enhanced my understanding of the reality of design when implemented during construction. It reminded me of the importance of communication for successful integration of the different building elements and building systems. Having the opportunity to see two buildings in very different phases of construction was eye opening for me. It was like seeing an X-ray of an evolving building because we got to see the “veins” and “guts” that come together to create the exterior walls, the interior walls, and the floors in one building and then we got to see it further along in the other building.

We had the chance to speak to the project superintendent about the coordination it took to construct the space for a linear accelerator. On the design front, we learned that a Physicist was consulted to aid in calculating the thickness and construction of the envelope needed for this space and that there are special lasers that are used with this machine that require an extremely carefully laid out and constructed room for them to work properly. To implement the construction and design required for this space, coordination between the design and construction teams was essential to its success. To me this was not only fascinating but a perfect example of the importance of communication in the healthcare design and construction industry.”

– Kimberly Leonard, LEED GA, project coordinator

“This was a great opportunity to share the day to day activities on a construction site with our younger staff, who would not normally be introduced to a project at this phase until later in their careers.  Observing projects during construction gives a greater appreciation for the effort needed to design, draw, and coordinate thoroughly.  Everything included (or not included) within the drawings and specifications makes its way to the construction site.  It is a good reminder that a project is not finished once the construction documents have been completed.”

– Ray Boudreau, project manager

“It was great to visit the two sites and seeing the projects in their respective stages. I’ve never been to a project site so early in the construction phase as Building A, so it was definitely eye-opening to see how much coordination our projects require from the start, even before the interior walls are even laid out. It was also interesting to learn about the how the future growth of the building was accounted for in the design, as well as how the exterior building finishes were an impact.

Since Building B was much further along, the most beneficial part of this visit was to see the details that we draw in 2D back at the office installed in real life. Other lessons included materials transitions (and how to clarify trouble points on our drawings) and a review of what to check for during punch lists.”

– Marissa Walczak, interior designer

“After the transition from the familiar theoretical realm of learning in school to now seeing firsthand the Wentworth-Douglass Hospital Pease project under construction is certainly an exciting new way to understand the development of design and construction. While walking through the site and hearing from fellow co-workers on how they addressed and reviewed certain challenges was remarkable. It seems that every site will offer a few lessons and to enhance our skills.”

– Shannon McManus, project coordinator

 

E4H Cares | Holiday Warmth and Gift Giving

E4H Cares recognizes that the holidays can sometimes be a difficult time and hopes to provide assistance to those in need. Our offices selected different causes to contribute gifts, food, and time to, as described below. We would like to extend our wishes for a bright and healthy 2019!

Boston, MA: The Boston office sponsored 20 individuals – 7 women and 13 children. Each individual asked for specific items such as clothing, blankets, or toys. We were happy to provide all requests, in addition to more, totaling 40 gifts. Household items such as laundry baskets, soap, and shampoo were also donated to the Alternative House.

Portland, ME: The Portland office supported the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH), where $140 worth of toys helped stock the Snowflake Station. At the Snowflake Station parents of the BBCH patients were able to pick out gifts for their children. Some of the donations will also provide therapeutic play activities in the Child Life Department.

Nashville, TN: The Tennessee office prepared 20 lunches for The Oasis Center volunteers who are working at the crisis center.

Dallas and Ft. Worth, TX: See our recent blog post regarding The Salvation Army Angel Tree.

Burlington, VT: The Vermont office donated $400 worth of toys and gifts to the Ronald McDonald House, proud to support the children and families who are facing childhood illness.

Washington DC: The DC office delivered $450 worth of gift cards to Fort Belvoir for “Operation Sugar Plum”, a program which assists eligible families assigned to Fort Belvoir by providing gift and food cards during the holiday season.

NeoCon 2018

NeoCon brings together nearly 500 companies and 50,000 design professionals, providing 100 CEUs and showroom tours highlighting new products. We were honored to attend “the commercial design industry’s launch pad for innovation” at the 50th Annual NeoCon.

Similar to a project launch, our trip began with familiarizing ourselves with the site (Chicago) and networking with ten other Boston designers who comprised our team for the week. The icebreaker event at BeSpoke Cuisine divided the group into smaller task forces, each completing one course of the meal. We were excited to work together to make something wonderful, appreciating the unique skills and perspective everyone brought to the table!

The following morning, we headed to the Focal Point factory, which graciously sponsored our trip to Chicago with Boston Light Source. Familiar with the Focal Point, we were excited to delve into their design and development, manufacturing processes, and operational strategies. We were given the opportunity to weigh in on some of their newest product developments like the Skydome Edge Acoustic, an acoustical ceiling solution that compliments their Skydome LED pendant. We are already brainstorming ways we can utilize these innovations in one of our next projects!

Chicago’s architecture has an amazing blend of Neoclassical juxtaposed against the sleek lines of modern design. This contrast of old and new is also apparent in the sculptural art found in the city—for instance Buckingham Fountain with its Rococo-influenced intricacies in comparison to the simplicity of Cloud Gate. And for the record, we Bostonians agree… it’s most certainly a bean, not a cloud.

Over the past few years, we’ve started seeing a shift in healthcare design to take inspiration from other sectors of design, in particular hospitality and residential, and this year’s product introductions at the Merchandise Mart only reinforced this trend. Comfort and flexibility impact the user experience and we’re starting to see waiting spaces evolve. A combination of soft seating, usable work areas (such as a high-top counter), and areas for privacy versus family space are all considerations when designing these healthcare waiting environments. As designers, we are responsible for considering the needs of a wide range of users to make our designs as inclusive and comforting as possible.

The Merchandise Mart also featured a few finish showrooms such as Tarkett, where we saw new releases in both the resilient (Johnsonite) and carpet (Tandus) industries. Bold shapes and tile formats left us brainstorming fresh ways to look at flooring for future projects.

We kept our eye out for unique alternatives for products as our industry continues to look at other markets for inspiration. Carnegie, Buzzispace, and 3form all had great new concepts for combating acoustics, without sacrificing form for function. Incorporating decorative techniques to address acoustics could impact hospitals, specifically regarding HCAHP scores on the “Quietness of Hospital Environment”.

    

The Barbican showroom featured their NeoCon Gold-winning WEV collection and a new concept for ceiling design—a 3D fiberglass printed mesh grid system which could be accented in a variety of colors while allowing lighting, sprinklers, sound, and security systems to live above the tiles. This product lends itself to a particular type of installation where the ceiling plays a more influential role, but if specified in the right application, it could introduce color and pattern in an unexpected way.

A few more product highlights:

  • KI featured their new desking series Tattoo, which won a NeoCon Gold award. This series embodied flexibility with options from sliding privacy screens, height adjustable worksurfaces, and hybrid storage and seating options.

   

  • Doug Mockett had rows and rows of hardware and accessories. This was interesting to see firsthand as these details sometimes come as an afterthought. We’re always keeping an eye out for innovative design.
  • Sherwin Williams highlighted color trends for the upcoming year. To combat the stereotype of hospitals being white and sterile, it’s important to incorporate fresh and engaging schemes. Paint is an inexpensive way to refresh a space.

Gerflor flooring’s European product designers were the masterminds behind the latest Gerflor launch—a terrazzo inspired sheet product with vibrant color options. This product would be perfect in bright colors for a pediatric environment but could also be used in neutral colors for a lobby space looking for a terrazzo visual for a fraction of the price. We’re seeing a growing interest in resilient flooring (rubber, sheet goods, and luxury vinyl tile) because of cleanability, comfort under foot, and acoustics.

NeoCon offered plenty of inspiration for us. We’re looking forward to applying these innovative products to our projects.

Breakthrough in Autism Research

An exciting breakthrough in autism research was recently published in the highly reputable academic journal, Nature. Scientists have observed brain enlargement in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A retrospective analysis of head circumference and longitudinal brain volume studies in two to four-year-olds indicate increased brain volume may be an early indicator of ASD. These findings suggest an earlier diagnosis may be possible, helping those with ASD and their caregivers better respond to challenges associated with the disorder.

In any given year, 1 in 68 Americans is diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jacques Black, AIA, a partner in our New York City office, has completed several projects for the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain in White Plains, NY. Together with Cathy Lord, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, he has published and presented on the unique dynamics of the built environment and individuals with ASD.  For example, when designing for autistic patients it is important to acknowledge and address their sensitivities to noise, color, and texture.

We are excited about the potential this research has for young families across the world and will continue to seek to better understand how to design spaces which address the unique needs of patients with ASD.

Food in Healthcare

seedlings-rows

There is a growing trend in healthcare to make hospitals more hospitable. One element of this trend involves hospitals cooking up food that doesn’t taste like ‘hospital food’, but instead restaurant quality fare.

Many restaurants across the country have embraced the ‘localvore’ movement (cooking with locally sourced ingredients). Chefs find that the practice is healthier (requiring fewer preservatives and processing to the foods), more sustainable (necessitating less travel distances and decreased carbon footprint) and more neighborly (purchasing directly from nearby farms and companies).  Hospitals are taking note and have begun to look local for food sourcing.

This trend is not new to The University of Vermont Medical Center (UVM Medical Center). Through our ongoing relationship with the health network, both as architects and as patients (many of our employees utilize the UVM Health Network for care), we have come to appreciate firsthand the benefits of delicious locally sourced food. As part of their sustainability initiative, the University was one of the first to sign the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge in 2006, dedicating itself to, “providing local, nutritious and sustainable food”. As well as supporting local farmers, it maintains a roof garden which supplies the cafeteria with fresh blueberries, kiwi and assorted vegetables, when in season.

E4H has worked with UVM Medical Center to support multiple sustainability initiatives, during our recent design of the Robert E. and Holly D. Miller Building  at UVM Medical Center, representatives from Nutritional Services were a part of the design team, contributing input on how to best address the nutritional needs of patients in the acute care setting. We have also worked with department leaders to achieve LEED Gold Certification for the  newly renovated Mother Baby Unit and Clinical Research Center.

It is also interesting to note that Hospitals & Health Networks recently reported Connecticut’s New Milford Hospital saw its patient satisfaction scores rise from the 30th percentile to the 95th percentile after implementation of its Plow to Plate local food sourcing movement. Serving tasty local food may also be good business.

We are happy to partner with forward thinking companies like The University of Vermont Medical Center and are excited to see the trend of locally sourcing food to spread across the country.