This summer I’ll be completing several shoots for Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans Vermont after several of their construction projects wrap up. The hospital recently created a new entrance which was completed in 2016, and this year adds a new Inpatient Progressive care unit, a Clinics building which will include specialty services, UVM clinics and Ob/Gyn services, as well as a Medical Office Building which will house ortho, labratory services, urgent care, and St. Albans primary care under one roof. All of these additions are improving the flow and organization of the campus as well as adding much needed space.
The first shoot I completed in April is of the Inpatient Progressive Care Unit. The expansion is being added onto the existing medical-surgical unit and will be an entire new connected unit once the renovation of the old med-surg unit is completed this fall.
From NMC’s website: “The patient rooms in the new wing are larger and offer a dedicated area for family and visitors to connect with the patients. The design of the new space also offers many improvements and efficiencies for staff, as well as color-coded wayfinding elements to make navigation easy.”
Getting the timing right was the most critical piece of planning this shoot. The space had to be near completion but in that small window of time before patients move in. Hospitals have strict standards around patient privacy. Consequently the rooms were mostly empty. We had to stage a room with furnishings and borrow computers for a few of the shots. It was also a rainy gray day and the exterior grounds were still visibly under construction.
Improving efficiency for the nursing staff was one of the key components of the new unit. Outside the rooms nurses can get a view into two neighboring rooms at the same time through dual windows that allow them easier monitoring without eliminating each patient’s privacy. This first shot tried to show that view.
Two large nurse’s stations allow for plenty of work space. Additionally there is a whole room with dedicated workstations for staff. The color coding mentioned above is carried through the floor tiling and room decor helping distinguish different areas of the unit.
It was important to get some overall views as well as detail shots. Improvements in individual rooms include infrastructure elements like the integration of the all the necessary plugs, outlets and wiring into the headwall behind each bed. The seating area for patient visitors in each room and storage closets make so much sense and create a more welcoming space. Hand washing stations within each room will help keep the environment sterile. Private bathrooms in each room are completely handicap accessible.
Outside this window was rain, puddles and gravel. Getting the shot to look sunny required using some lighting outside the window. In post production I cleaned up the view.
Some of the details in the design elements were added not only for their aesthetic value but also to help visually delineate separate areas. Adding different materials like the wood bump outs above the nurse stations and custom lighting like the leaf sconces make the space much cozier. While you want a hospital unit to be sterile, you don’t want it to feel that way.
Here’s a fun timelapse video that NMC captured of the building’s construction. It’s amazing how much of the project is just site preparation!!
If you want even more you can check out a video tour of the space with NMC’s facilities director Tyson Moulton filmed by the local public access channel.
Stina Booth is a commercial architecture photographer based in northern Vermont available to shoot in Vermont and throughout New England. Services include residential, municipal and commercial projects. To inquire about having your project photographed contact me.
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