The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, is the #1 destination for adults and children with the most complex conditions, from brain and spinal cord injuries to stroke, cancer, and amputation. The 1.2M SF facility is the first-ever translational research hospital where clinicians, scientists, innovators, and technologists work together in shared, flexible spaces surrounding patients, discovering new approaches, and applying research in real-time. The Client's vision was to reshape the future of rehabilitation and transform how discoveries are applied to advance human ability. The design reflects that vision inside and out.
Concepts integral to translational health drove planning and design; research doesn't just coexist with care, it's integrated into the clinical environment, engaging patients in the process. Each of five ability labs, Think + Speak, Legs + Walking, Arms + Hands, Strength + Endurance, and Pediatrics act as the front stage for patients to work with clinicians and researchers. Each lab also has a private, heads-down back stage for analysis and planning. Technology is embedded throughout. Clinicians and researchers measure every aspect of patients' activities to mine data that improve outcomes and enable researchers to learn and share new insights in real-time.
The patient experience has multiple touch points and extends from the entrance to the patient rooms. This experience is manifested through the design, from the extra wide corridors, curved at every corner for better sight lines and mobility, to optimized spaces that communicate wellness. Motivational environmental graphics and wayfinding also support the patient experience. Access to natural light is maximized. Landscaping and green space afford access to gardens for respite. The east and west corridors are punctuated by vistas to give patients and visitors a break from rigorous therapy. Every opportunity was taken to offer views of Chicago and Lake Michigan.