Restoration Healthcare

HDR Architecture's new Advocate Condell West Tower addition in Libertyville, Ill. places its emphasis on patient-centered care, fostering a restorative culture that results in a higher level of medical care and better patient outcomes.

09.27.2011 by Robert Nieminen



When the West Tower at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. opened in April 2011, the hospital became the only one in Lake County to offer private rooms to all of its adult patients. The new tower, designed by HDR Architecture, significantly expands Condell’s heart and vascular program by adding diagnostic and treatment space and new inpatient units.

The space provides a healing environment for patients and an inspiring work environment for staff, cultivating a non-institutional, hotel-like image for the facility. Family lounges, staff lounges and serenity rooms are thoughtfully placed, each with views to the exterior. A healing garden within the new courtyard provides views from the interior and an intimate respite with nature on the exterior. A non-denominational chapel offers space for quiet contemplation. This attention to the patients’ state of mind—as well as the caregivers’—fosters a restorative culture that benefits both groups, and ultimately results in a higher level of care and better outcomes.

Designed as a one-stop shop for cardiology and vascular patients, the Heart & Vascular Center’s ground level and first floor includes advanced space for non-invasive cardiology, a wound treatment center, cardiac rehab, sleep center, physical and occupational therapy, and community meeting rooms. The second and third floors contain inpatient units, while the fourth floor is reserved for future expansion of the inpatient unit.

Each of the two inpatient units accommodates 36 patients and is organized into two pods of 18 beds. This configuration makes it easier for families to navigate through the unit while simultaneously reducing the number of steps for staff to travel from patients to support spaces. The unit’s shape is a gentle crescent that is spatially efficient, putting the support space near the center of the pod. This layout also breaks down the scale of the unit by preventing uninterrupted views down corridors.

All of the new patient rooms will be used initially for medical/surgical patients. They are acuity-adaptable, however, in that the infrastructure to provide intensive care is already in place: high-acuity headwalls, de-centralized nurse sub-stations with observation windows and greater clearances around beds. Each unit also has rooms that can serve bariatric patients and patients requiring airborne infection isolation if needed.

The interior design pays homage to nature and to the hospital’s prairie setting. Each floor, themed to represent a season of the year, draws from a subtly different color palette. Winter is recalled with blues, spring with green, summer with purple, and autumn with browns and reds. Hints of nature adorn public spaces, waiting areas and art niches, and evoke the respective season. Light sconces outside of each patient room depict elements of nature.

As they approach the building, patients and visitors encounter the Mankato limestone wall that orients them to the main entrance. Upon entering the lobby, a richly textured limestone wall extends into the building and serves as a point of reference on each floor. The lobby’s large, blossom-like pendant lights and the warm wood paneling serve as soothing counterpoints to the limestone. Adjacent to and viewable from the lobby is the safari-themed pediatric waiting room, complete with brightly-colored suspended panels, liquid-infused floor tiles, bird-shaped light fixtures and a playful animal mural.

Natural light was utilized throughout the facility to enhance the patient experience. In each patient room, windows extend wall-to-wall and nearly floor-to-ceiling. In the physical therapy gym and the hyperbaric chambers, windows bathe the rooms in glare-free northern light. The chapel’s tall slot window washes its gently curved surface in ever-changing shades.

Sustainability is addressed in many ways, including through the interior design: corridor flooring that has 35 percent recycled content; SMaRT-certified sustainable linoleum flooring in support spaces; 40 percent recycled resin materials; 39 percent recycled wall tile; 70 percent recycled content ceiling tiles; 61 percent recycled content in the main carpet; and low-odor/low-VOC paint used throughout building. Additionally, all light fixtures are fluorescent, halogen or LED.

The result is a healthcare facility that offers respite from the typical stresses of a hospital visit, and feels more like a place you’d want to call home.


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advocate condell medical center
801 South Milwaukee Avenue
Libertyville, IL 60048
(847) 362-2900

project team
HDR Architecture, Inc.
8404 Indian Hills Drive
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 926-7080