Architect: Zimmerman Architectural Studios, Inc.
Owner: Froedtert Hospital
Contractor: Boldt Construction
The Froedtert Hospital Birth Center is the only birth center in Wisconsin physically adjacent to and connected with a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The significance of the architect’s organizationally change-making design is truthfully life-saving when only minutes – even seconds – are available to rush an infant from labor and delivery (LDR) to NICU.
To reach this impactful design approach, previously compact departments were expanded, redesigned (both operationally and physically) and reformed into 77,180 square feet of space on three floor plates. The Birth Center consists of 48 total patient rooms (Labor and Delivery, Post-Partum, and Ante-Partum), and three C-Section suites.
Even more important than inclusive design and operational efficiency, birth Centers demand a highly secure environment. The architect’s design strategy keeps babies safe from abduction and other patients/staff secure from potential outside threats. A secure, locked perimeter assures safety and connections from the reception desks to the team rooms allowing reception staff to swiftly exit harm’s way if needed. An infant abduction alarm system aligns with Froedtert’s emergency policies.
The architect met the challenge of creating an uber-secure environment while achieving a warm, hospitable interior. While Froedtert maintains materials standards, the architect helped lead more malleable thinking in this critical healing environment. Flexibility was granted in the development of palettes so colors, while warm, reinforced wayfinding concepts and created neighborhoods identified by color, animal imagery and illustrations. Artwork was used as protective, decorative wall panels. Durable, functional products were selected in rich, warm tones with accents of color for interest.
Photos: C&N Photography Inc.