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UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“Conventional thinking can’t save healthcare,” said UPMC President and CEO Jeffrey Romoff. “Just because it’s never been done doesn’t mean UPMC can’t do it.”

That’s the approach UPMC is taking in the development of its new nine-story Vision and Rehabilitation Hospital that will position the health system at the global forefront of ophthalmic research, care and rehabilitation. 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.

Chris Downey, AIA, one of the world’s few blind architects, is advising the team on design strategies that best support the visually impaired.

A low-vision, clinic-gym hybrid has an interactive healing center, exam rooms, therapy stations and a central gym. A mock apartment and street lab enable patients go through simulations that teach them life skills. Training ramps and stairs in a rooftop healing garden give patients a safe environment in which to prepare for real-life experiences.

The materials used for the building facade—a mix of energy-efficient patterned glass, warm terra-cotta and brick—respect the architectural character of the UPMC campus and the hospital’s location on Pittsburgh’s prominent Boulevard of the Allies.

410,000 sq. ft. / 38,090 sq. m.
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