Thursday, December 16, 2010

Clearwater - Proposal for an Urban Dialysis Center

Building from Franklin Street

This is Clearwater, a hemodialysis center implemented in a modern building in a dense urban area. As patients with end stage renal disease typically require hemodialysis three to four hours three times per week, I wanted to implement a unit close to home and/or work. In addition, I felt that patients should have the opportunity to use their treatment time to do activities that they might otherwise be doing, such as relaxation, work, or exercise. Evidence shows that patients have less stress and higher satisfaction if they are given choices regarding their care and are provided with positive distractions. In the design of Clearwater, patients have the option of treatment in more open areas with equipment available for exercise or treatment in semiprivate space set up to allow work on a computer. I took advantage of the open floor plates to flood the space with natural light. All treatment areas have a view of a window. Plants are incorporated throughout the space and water elements are present in the lobby garden. As exercise has been shown to have a significant effect on clinical outcomes in patients on dialysis, I allocated two thirds of the treatment area to have the option of exercise during treatment. I also included mobile nursing units to incorporate best safety practices. This gives the nurse constant access to an electronic medical record and the ability to barcode scan all medications at the point of delivery. Both of these practices have been shown to dramatically reduce medical errors.

Several issues related to healthcare design impacted my ultimate design. Hemodialysis requires the delivery and drainage of significant amounts of water. Including adequate plumbing stacks required that I abandon my original choice of the historic Inland Steel Building. Instead I designed a new building inspired by the footplate of the Inland Steel and found an alternative location within the Chicago Loop. Aligning the treatment spaces along plumbing walls while maximizing views encouraged me to abandon the idea of an area configured to encourage socialization amongst patients. Material choices were largely based on the need for infection control. I chose sheet rubber flooring and film veneers to minimize seams and to permit easy cleaning. In order to have light passing through the entire space, I chose systems furniture for the office area. Patient exam rooms were walled with smart glass to give privacy.

Lobby Atrium  - Franklin Street Elevat


Exam Rooms

Quiet Treatment Area
Treatment Area with Exercise Equipment


  1. I love how much easier it is to share your drawings then when I was getting my degree. (and yes that did just date me) I like how much attention the people's needs were addressed. I have a question, why no community area? I know no one tends to talk in a waiting room, but if you were here 12 hours a week; it seems you might want to hang out at the "water cooler". I do like it. And the wall-o-water is a relaxing feature to first walk into. GOOD JOB DUDE!!!!

  2. I didn't really draw it out well in the renderings, but on the clinical floors, there is a community area with both couches and tables, as well as a small kitchenette. I really wanted to have a section where the dialysis chairs were set up to allow socialization during the treatment. However, I ran into conflict with where the plumbing walls would need to be and maintaining ample natural light in the treatment areas. I'm sure the conflict could be resolved, but I didn't have time to make it work.