Building as Healing

- Phase III Hospital Project -

The final project of the semester involved the conceptual design of the final phase of the MUSC hospital replacement master plan. The design of Phase III should relate to the
framework established by the Ashley River Tower [ART] and the second phase Women’s and Children’s Hospital currently being designed. It also built on the urban analysis of peninsula Charleston and Master Planning ideas explored to date for the Medical District; intended to continue exploring the overall theme of the semester, which examines relationships between urban analysis and urban design, and medical district and hospital planning and design. Students were now expected to examine the project at the level of Building as City. 

We saw this as an opportunity to challenge this notion; rather than building as city, shift the conversation to: Healing as city, Building as Healing.

Design proposals addressed the ability to accommodate changing needs over time. The detailed planning of the clinical programs to be housed in phase three will not be the central issue to be explored in the studio project, and heavily informed by the adjacent Seminar coursework. Instead of designing for a specific program, we designed the base building with a system level one resolution including: Site entry points, structural frame and related elements, building facade, circulation (horizontal and vertical), public amenities and mechanical systems zoning.

The overall project goals of this hospital improve operational efficiency and effectiveness - allowing for the accommodation of flexible and efficient departmental layouts and inter-departmental relationships, improve health outcomes/safety, improve patient family and staff satisfaction and accommodate changing needs over time. 

The Design Proposal

This hospital responded to the framework set forth by the second phase MUSC Urban Design Proposal (See Total Health Environment), which included a parking garage, elevated light train on Courtnaey, the pedestrian bridge entry from across the river along Bee Street. These conditions informed our proposed design guidelines for creating a healthy building:

1.) Hierarchy of Movement/ Flow

2.) Integration to the MUSC Context

3.) Create a Comfortable User Dimension,

4.) Incorporate Sustainable Initiatives

5.) Plan for Resiliency.  

These 6 design guidelines were translated into strategies that informed the buildings form. This building has the opportunity to be an Iconic landmark, create an active axis continuum from one end of the campus to another, mediate the pedestrian/vehicular condition, encourage diverse modes of access, implement green/sustainable strategies and incorporate mixed use program to engage the community. 

A Unique Sail on the Charleston Skyline

MUSC has a motif of sails along the skyline. Our patient tower provided the opportunity to continue this parti in concept, but introduce a unique geometry and orientation to this 'sail'. By shifting the axis of the bed tower, inpatients of this hospital are provided fantastic views of the Ashley River and of the MUSC campus.  Hovering above, this tower orientation also provides maximum sun protection, and gives an opportunity to utilize the D&T roof as a space for outdoor recreation and relocated wellness facility.

This stacking model of a hospital that provides the most flexibility. Our D&T podium was determined by the zoning regulations, assumed a 30'x30' modular grid, and set up parking space at the ground level in order to elevate all critical functions above the 13' flood line. We tried to keep vertical punctures and circulation to the exterior of the scheme, which enables the largest amount of flexibility and adaptability. The block is broken by terracing upwards from the pedestrian proposed walk on Bee Street; an opportunity to incorporate sustainable initiatives, and soften scale. The building is divided by a green axis continuum: separating public functions facing Courtnaey to handle the retail and Medical Office Building program, from the private functions such as Emergency, Imaging and Surgery suites.

Sectional stacking shows the relationship of the critical hospital functions, vertically, as well as in relation to their bridged connection to the Ashley River Tower. Public access into the hospital occurs both at the third level when exiting from the proposed light rail tram, as well as on the first level with a ramped entrance into the ED, and a terracing plaza to the ground level at the public entry.

At all levels of both public and private blocks, staff and patients have access to natural day light, as well as the ability to break out into a number of public or private green spaces. This building becomes a healing environment for patients, public, staff and workers, in addition to becoming a landmark.


- Click to Enlarge -

Project Team: Emily McGowan, Xiang (James) Zhao, Shirui (Max) Lin

Presentation to MUSC

- December, 2015 -

To view the first phase analysis project, please click here: Charleston Analysis

To view the second phase MUSC urban design proejct, please click here: MUSC Urban Design: Total Health Environment

A Big thank you to MUSC and LS3P for hosting our final review and presentation!