ED lab INC
Robin Randall

Olympia Medical Center

“Playful Plywood Welcomes Patrons”

Architect: Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership
Project Designer: Robin Randall
Photography: Pete Eckert,
Eckert & Eckert Photography
Client: Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound

Completed in 1994
Science of Learning:
This large health care facility’s planning strategy is to cluster reception areas around one main entry point and two secondary entry points. The glass “lantern” structures have a verity of glazing types including crackle glass, glass block and clear insulated glass within a steel frame. These atrium lobbies have become gathering spaces for all learners and help orient visitors to appropriate departments. Sculptural stairs clad in rotary cut plywood and stained masonite, flow along the edges of each of the lobbies.

Language of Nature:
Convex plywood ceiling panels reflect light from the clerestory windows and provide a playful aesthetic, simple and cost effective. Site development included a covered drop off canopy and landscaped outdoor patios for patrons and staff. Colorful ceramic tile patterns surround the windows; patterns and colors shift depending on department and orientation.

Art of Innovation:
Technology and medical equipment was mocked up prior to construction in a test room to confirm ideal locations. To express good stewardship of construction funds, finishes are simple, durable and cost effective including the steel plate wall base used in public hallways. A one-percent for art program resulted in a collection of pieces by northwest artists prominently integrated throughout the facility.