Cabrini Medical Center
The Catholic Medical Center administrators and staff, to allow doctors and surgeons to share knowledge of medical procedures, wanted to create a facility that would provide new ways for doctors to accomplish this important element of medical practice. This was accomplished by creating a conference/video facility that allowed doctors to assemble in our digital age’s version of the Enlightenment’s surgical theater. Instead of doctors needing to come to the place of surgery and watch the surgeon work in an amphitheater, we created (with much modern technology available to us) a virtual surgical theater.
By having hospital members of the surgical network install cameras and microphones in their surgical suites around the country (and around the world), the surgeons at any such facility could have their actual live surgeries broadcast to the Cabrini facility allowing hundreds of doctors in NY to watch such a surgery. But more than merely watch the surgery, the facility we created was fitted with tracking microphones and tracking video cameras which would turn on and send back questions from the doctors at the Cabrini facility to the ears of the doctors in the surgical facility, so that the surgeons could answer, live, the questions put by the remote doctors at the Cabrini facility.
We took an existing boring cafeteria and food facility at the top of the Medical Center, and completely reworked the space. We first created a combined multi-purpose space which could be divided into three different conference areas (for times when the entire space was not needed for a single large video conference). This division used massive folding doors that came from hidden recesses in the ceiling; when not needed they were completely gone and did not take up any floor space.
We also supplied the necessary digital/electronic infrastructure including a large control audio/video/digital room. Then we reworked all the spaces so that when conferences were not taking place, the entire staff of the Center could use it for their meals, in conjunction with the newly redone kitchen and food supply areas on the floor. In order to accomplish all this multi-use, we needed to install automated black out shades, since the main conference space had huge wonderful windows giving an inspiring view of the NY City skyline. This way, during conferences, they could be closed as a necessary condition for good viewing, then automatically opened for use as an eating establishment, or for meetings and conferences that didn’t require cutting out the daylight.
The design approach I took was to sculpt the ceilings of this large space. This geometric sculpting of the levels and forms of the ceiling dealt with many aspects of the program:
- provide places to hide the giant folding partitions, without taking up space on the floor as it typical for folding partitions.
- provide places for the dozens of video screens that came down from the ceiling allowing all the doctors regardless of their distance from the podium, to have close views of the surgery going on
- provide surfaces to install the hidden cameras and microphones
- provide a ceiling that could have both indirect lighting, when needed, as well as direct lighting from the pendant fixtures we chose
- a solution that made all the above things seem natural and easy, while providing a visual effect that was rich and attractive – rather than the blandness of modern flat ceilings.
- Project Category: Medical,
- Location: New York, NY
- Materials: Vertically folding wood walls, state-of-art videoconferencing systems, Direct and indirect lighting, specialty painting
- Size: 10,000 sf