The new UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower at UPMC Mercy will position the health system at the global forefront of ophthalmic research and care. Accommodating clinicians, researchers, educators and commercial partners, the hospital will serve as a destination for healing, an incubator for medical advancements and a hub for biomedical research.
Located on the UPMC Mercy Campus in Pittsburgh’s Uptown neighborhood, this new facility includes a nine-story tower that houses research, office and conference areas and a four-story building that is home to hospital functions including surgery, clinical and pharmacy spaces.
The materials used for the facade—a mix of energy-efficient patterned glass, warm terra-cotta and brick—respect the architectural character of Pittsburgh and the prominent site on the Boulevard of the Allies.
The interior welcomes visually impaired visitors with physical cues that will help them navigate throughout the hospital. Chris Downey, AIA, one of the world’s few blind architects, is advising the team on design strategies that best support these visitors. The design includes lighting strategies that rely on contrast and brightness, sound as a wayfinding tool, and materials and textures that aid people with canes.
A glass-enclosed staircase physically connects levels 4-8 and establishes a staff gathering place. The staircase promotes employee interaction and contributes to the building’s distinctive facade.
A low-vision, clinic-gym hybrid includes an interactive healing center, exam rooms, therapy stations and a central gym. A mock apartment and street lab encourage patients to participate in simulations that teach them life skills. Training ramps and stairs in a rooftop healing garden give patients a safe environment to prepare for real-life experiences.