The healthcare reform battle’s getting ugly, but at least it can play out against some pretty backdrops.
The two built winners of this year’s AIA National Healthcare Design Awards, both in Portland, Oregon, are glossy and inviting. Mahlum’s Providence North Portland Clinic runs alongside a transit line downtown, greeting the street with a long wall of windows revealing glimpses of murals within. And a dramatic new pavilion at the Oregon Health and Science University (by Perkins + Will in joint venture with Petersen Kohlberg & Associates) spans a 75-foot change in elevation, creating a cascade of expansive vistas and terraces with a pedestrian walkway snaking through them.
Congratulations, Portland—you clearly have a thing or two to teach the rest of the country about designing quality healthcare facilities. If only you could teach us how to design quality healthcare, too.
But don’t get complacent, either, Oregonians. The remaining winner is a not-yet-built cancer research institute by HKS, in joint venture with UHS Building Solutions, that would entwine elegantly around a “major river” in the northeast. HKS insists the exact location is top secret… perhaps fearing the flashbulbs of those infamous architecture paparazzi?