Client: Baystate Health
Location: Springfield, MA, United States
Completion date: 2012
Artwork budget: $25,000
Kirsten Waltz, AIA, EDAC, ACHA, LEED AP
Steffian Bradley Architects
Shelley Schivley Pass, NCIDQ
Steffian Bradley Architects
The 14,000-square-foot Women’s Imaging Center provides three service areas: screening, diagnostics, and cancer care. The design of the Center accommodates varying patient needs with separate space for each service, in order to enhance privacy while minimizing patients’ anxiety.
A distinct entryway and separate reception area for cancer care offers patients greater security and comfort. Two secondary waiting rooms provide separate flow routes for screening and diagnostic services. In addition, doctors and nurses circulate through staff-only corridors located behind clinical rooms. With these discrete traffic areas, practitioners can maneuver easily around the facility and patients have minimal exposure to clinical apparatus.
The commissioned artwork was chosen to complement the Center’s overall aesthetic, which focuses on visual motifs of feminine elements that are integrated into a hospitality-inspired environment. The artwork was intended to combine with the designers’ careful selection of finish materials and lighting fixtures. Together, these features enhance the Center’s interior aesthetic by not only creating a relaxing ambience but also creating a cohesive and effective organization of the facility through way-finding and circulation cues.
In the main entry to the suite, a striking “feature wall” displays a custom ceramic tile installation designed by Natalie Blake Studios. Blake’s floral theme is then extended throughout the suite in smaller pieces of art featuring x-ray floral images from fine-art photographer Steven N. Meyers. In addition to their inherent beauty, these images were chosen because they speak directly to the technical function of the medical x-ray imaging spaces. This artwork is presented in similarly formatted pieces in frames or Plexiglas on standoffs throughout the suite. These inviting floral prints invoke an intriguing natural beauty that helps patients to feel more soothed and relaxed during their medical visits.
The collaboration process engaged representatives from Baystate, the architectural/design team, artwork vendor, artists, and end-users.
First, the designers and client met with art consultants Carla Santia & Associates to discuss the stylization that would best complement our interiors scheme. Working with these consultants, we selected a desired style and format for the artwork and chose locations on the floorplan. Based on these decisions, the consultants developed a slideshow of potential pieces from which we would select 50, meeting the client’s established budget. End-users evaluated these options and voted on the final selections.
We commissioned a special piece for the main entry of the Phase I suite. Designers provided Blake Studios with an array of finish samples, such as paints and wall coverings, so that the artists could develop an installation suited for the environment. With these parameters, along with feedback from end-users regarding desired colors and themes, Blake designed a set of custom, hand-made, fired ceramic wall-art tiles using an Italian carving style, sgraffito, meaning “to scratch.” When laid together, these unique tiles create contiguous abstract designs that can be expanded. We coordinated millwork layouts and lighting fixtures with the contractor to provide an ideal backdrop for the tiles.
The approach for selecting artwork during Phase II differed from that of Phase I, in order to accommodate the leaner budget set by the client. This artwork features photos produced by staff physician Dr. Wait. The photos capture abstract biological images such as close-ups of leaves and fern fronds. Dr. Wait donated the use of his photography, and, in some instances, permitted access to original file images so that they could be reproduced on acrylic for stunning visual effects.