Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore


The Two Towers

Perkins+Will assembles a diverse team to help design a complex, flexible, yet beautifully cohesive new medical center for Baltimore’s storied Johns Hopkins Hospital.

By Robert Nieminen

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    Artist Kate Malone's "The Bouquet" sits atop a custom-designed reception desk in the main lobby of the Sheikh Zayed Tower, which also features Bob Chairs from Coalesse and bench seating from Inno, upholstered in Edelman Leather and treated with Crypton. View larger

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    The curvilinear glass and brick building, accented with colorful panels designed in collaboration with artist Spencer Finch, serves as the new front door to the hospital. Artist Robert Israel's painted steel "Pair of Rhinos" welcomes guests to the Children's Tower. All the artwork in The Johns Hopkins Hospital was curated by Nancy Rosen. View larger

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    The AND seating system, designed by Fabio Novembre for Cappellini and upholstered here in Maharam’s Fedora wool fabric, makes a bold design statement in the Children’s Center lobby, and could easily be mistaken for one of 500 original works of art featured throughout The Johns Hopkins Hospital. View larger

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    The theme of the artwork in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Childrens Center focuses on childrens literature and learning, as illustrated by artist Robert Israel's "Cow Jumping Over the 28 Phases of the Moon." View larger

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    Sound-absorptive Techstyle ceiling tiles by Hunter Douglas mitigate sound transmission and help to create a tranquil environment throughout the facility, including the faculty office area and conference rooms seen here. View larger

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    In the Children's Center elevator lobbies, wayfinding is reinforced through brightly-colored metal panels on each floor. Views to the outside orient visitors to their location. View larger

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    Public seating by Vladimir Kagan Couture, featured here (in blue), is seen next to artist Robert Israel’s "School of Puffer Fish"; the red, swirling seating in the background is Cappellini's AND system, covered in Maharam fabric and treated with Nano-Tex. View larger

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    Patients and staff benefit from the generous amount of daylight—seen here in a staff conference room—that penetrates the glass curtain wall created in collaboration with artist Spencer Finch. View larger

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    A nurses station in the Children's Center emergency department features artist Lauren Adams’s "Papel Picado", made of color silkscreens on paper. View larger

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    Bright colors were used to create an uplifting and joyful environment, as seen in the Children’s Center surgery waiting area. View larger

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    Allermuir’s Lola chairs in brightly-colored fabrics were specified for the Children’s Center waiting area; artist Timothy Woodman’s “Ferdinand’s Flowers” adorn the accent wall. View larger

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    Evidence-based design strategies, which are based on peer-reviewed research, were incorporated throughout the facility; patients and family members can research medical topics in the Children’s Center resource library, seen here. View larger

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    Nora rubber flooring, Pantone seating from Vitra and tables from izzy+ were selected for the Children’s Center inpatient unit play room. View larger

Hospitals are by their very nature complex buildings, the designs of which must carefully balance the needs of patients, staff and other stakeholders, all while meeting stringent operational requirements. Existing hospitals face an even greater challenge when it comes to renovations and additions, as medical services must continue without interruption.

So when global multidisciplinary firm Perkins+Will, along with a team of design and engineering consultants, leading artists, and The Johns Hopkins Hospital facilities staff got together to design a new 1.6-million-square-foot complex for the nation’s top-ranked hospital and medical research center, it is no exaggeration to say it was an undertaking of epic proportions.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore includes two 12-story towers for children’s and adult healthcare that rise from an 8-story structural base that composes a unified clinical building, distinguished by its curved shape, articulated forms, bold color, gardens and natural light.

“Overall, the client’s goals were to create a project that maximized functional, programmatic space…but at the same time be a way to create a new image for the hospital, a new front door, and to create two identities,” explains Jean Mah, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, planning principal at Perkins+Will. According to Mah, the building was designed to be as flexible and adaptable to the future as possible, while also unifying The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center and the Sheikh Zayed Tower under a single theme.

The complex includes 560 private patient rooms, 33 state-of-the-art operating rooms, and expansive new adult and pediatric emergency departments. Its integrated planning and design supports both the most advanced medical technologies and the latest evidence-based design (EBD) strategies for true patient-oriented care.

While EBD features such as single-patient rooms, views to the outdoors, daylighting and strategically-located hand washing stations were used throughout the project, the design team heavily emphasized lighting and acoustics. “From a reduction of medical errors and improved accuracy, patient safety and staff safety [standpoint], we have very carefully designed the lighting levels—the lighting on surfaces and the patient caregiving sites—in order to improve visibility and accuracy,” says Mah.

Increasingly, quality patient care also includes acoustical sensitivity.

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