New Lobby Reflects Comfort, Home

A rendering of the new two-story lobby

When entering the main campus of Southern Ohio Medical Center, visitors will get a much more comfortable experience than they’re used to receiving from a typical hospital. When completed in 2008, the two-story lobby will offer 8,000 square feet of warmth and bright welcome space.

“We wanted to create an entrance that will make people feel as comfortable as possible while acting as a central hub for the hospital,” Mark Dye, senior architect for URS Corporation, the company in charge of designing the addition, said. “When people come in, we want them to be impressed but not feel too overwhelmed.”

To make this possible, the design team used an array of natural concepts to mimic the feel of Southern Ohio, eliminating the rigid feel of most hospitals and opting for a more comforting environment.

“We chose to use lots of natural colors and more earthy materials like stone, slate, and wood to provide a very relaxed feel,” Dye said. “We also used a curvilinear shape to the halls and lots of angles to duplicate the Ohio River and its surrounding hills.”

A rendering of the cafe and gift shop

The finished atrium will feature high ceilings to allow for larger windows and multi-storage space, and a fireplace to create a warmer atmosphere. The main reception desk, as well as new café and gift shop, also will be located in the new lobby to provide an easier flow of department traffic in and out of the center of the hospital.

“We really wanted to stay away from a high-tech design because that tends to feel less inviting and makes people more frightened,” Dye said. “Our main objective was to create a space that downplays the fact that you’re in a hospital while providing the best access to all destinations, and I think we’ve successfully managed to do that.”