The Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute is the fifth and newest “gem” on “Institute Row,” where distinctive architecture has driven the concept of each facility.

April 16, 2024

Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute is Inventive Use of Design-Build

Learn how Orlando Health and Haskell collaborated to manage costs and scheduling while creating the next design-driven 'gem' on Institute Row.


In a project that has been novel on numerous counts, Orlando Health and Haskell partnered to bring the state-of-the-art Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute to the system’s main campus.

The Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute is the newest “gem” on “Institute Row,” located on West Underwood Street. It joins the Orlando Health Heart & Vascular Institute, the Orlando Health Digestive Health Institute, the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute and the Orlando Health Cancer Institute.

The three-story, 45,000-square-foot building consolidates Orlando Health’s Neuroscience services – neurology with subspecialties, neurodiagnostics, neurosurgery and pain management – which have been in other buildings on the campus.

“Having our Institutes next to Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) allows our physicians the convenience of walking over to the clinic spaces to see patients,” said Arnulfo Castillo, Senior Director of Orlando Health’s Planning & Design Studio. “And it makes it easier for our patients because all the services they need are under one roof.”

While the health system has an architectural brand established for its community hospitals and freestanding emergency departments, distinctive architecture has driven the concept of Institute Row.

“We promote flexibility of design to embrace the respective service lines at our institutes. We want them to stand out as gems,” Castillo said. “We want architecture to convey a level of uniqueness to show that the institutes are where specialized state-of-the-art services are provided. We want buildings to convey that.

“We put a lot of effort into developing the design to the point that it is unique, progressive and also timeless. When the institutes are complete, you will be able to drive down Institute Row and experience buildings that relate to each other but are unique.”

Orlando Health has worked closely with David Martin, Haskell’s Division Leader for Healthcare Design, and his team to develop the institute’s unique architecture and engineering. Martin has specialized in healthcare design for 27 years, 20 with Haskell.

“We feel this opportunity for the client to be so heavily engaged has served to not only enhance the design but help it be truly integrated into Orlando Health’s campus and design aesthetic,” Martin said.

Castillo credited a high level of collaboration for contributing to the project’s success.

“They’re good communicators and receptive to our feedback,” he said. “The design evolved, and throughout the entire process, the Haskell team were open and receptive to our ideas and requests for changes. I think it’s really been a good example of teamwork.”

Plentiful Daylight in Sustainable Design

The building’s design plays off its natural north-facing orientation.

“Because it doesn’t get direct sunlight, that gave us the opportunity to utilize a curtain-wall glass system on the north. The back of the building, which faces south, has smaller windows,” Castillo said.

The windows were positioned in relation to corridors to bring natural light into hallways and the interior of the building, Castillo said.

“We designed around that for all our medical space. We tried to integrate as much daylight as possible,” he said. “Evidence confirms there are benefits to patients and staff when they have access to natural daylight.”

An interior lighting system that automatically dims when natural light is strong helps conserve energy and save money, Castillo said. The facility was designed in conjunction with Orlando Health’s Energy and Sustainability Task Force to reduce energy consumption by 15% and optimize building performance.

A sense of movement was important, too, Castillo said. The design reflects the neurological system and the activity between synapses. The front of the building has a series of fins rotated slightly from one to the other.

“As you approach the building, the light reflection will change, and the building will appear differently,” Castillo said. “It creates a sense of movement and dynamic.”

Martin said pragmatism was also a priority in the Institute’s design. For example, the large vehicular canopy on the front façade makes patient arrivals and departures easy during hot summers or rainy weather. The design utilized a variety of materials, playing high-grained wood off glass and metal.

Special attention was also given to overall aesthetics, detailing, signage, and graphics, which were designed for ease of use and good first impressions.

Flexibility and Future Use

Martin said Haskell’s design and construction team worked with Orlando Health to discuss opportunities to alter clinical workflows and patient traffic patterns to maximize the project budget and square footage.

“The exam rooms, offices and staff support spaces within each clinical area are arranged for ease of use and staff efficiency,” Martin said. “In addition, minimizing travel distances and effective supply management on the platform will assist in daily clinical activities to maximize provider and staff time with the patient. This can ultimately allow the facility to be more effective in seeing patients and more judicious with everyone’s time, patient and provider.”

Jennifer De La Rosa, Director of Healthcare Planning, said another priority was to build in flexibility for long-term adaptations to the facility as healthcare services change.

“The interior space planning provides a modular, flexible layout to intentionally accommodate short- and long-term operational changes in the Institute’s delivery of patient care while simultaneously implementing Orlando Health design standard,” she said.

The design provides patient exam rooms, treatment rooms, care coordinator work rooms, staff and physician collaboration work areas, physician offices, physical therapy space and a central lecture hall for team member education and community engagement opportunities.

Haskell Healthcare Planning and Design teams specialize in the unique requirements and dynamics of healthcare-focused design and engineering. Team members include in-house Haskell architects, planners, engineers from across the disciplines and interior and landscape designers. Further, its Healthcare Construction Division has more than 100 professionals dedicated to the market’s specific needs.

Design-Build Delivers Excellence

In addition to its distinctive design, the facility is novel in that Orlando Health contracted Haskell to create it using design-build delivery, in which a single entity assumes responsibility for a facility's design, construction, and commissioning. The healthcare industry has traditionally employed design-bid-build instead.

Denise Muth, Senior Project Director in Healthcare, said the Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute is an opportunity to demonstrate in a healthcare setting the benefits of integrated delivery and cross-disciplinary collaboration throughout the project lifecycle.

“Design-build is not traditionally a standard delivery method for acute or non-acute healthcare projects,” Muth said. “But it helps expedite and provide seamless and aligned communications during the design and construction process.”

“This is the first time we have used the design-build approach at this scale,” Castillo said. “We have been very happy with the results. We have managed the costs and schedule along the way.”

The preconstruction team was involved in circumventing supply chain issues from Day 1. Long-lead materials, such as a prefabricated exterior wall system, were selected and ordered early so they would be available for proper sequencing.

“We had many excellent trade partners on the project that worked well together in a very tight, downtown hospital campus setting,” Muth said. “It took a tremendous team effort to overcome the current industry issues with lead times and qualified personnel to make this project happen, even integrating a new Rehab facility in some of the shell space.”

Design-build delivery involved all disciplines from concept to completion, providing continuity that ensured adherence to budget and schedule while maintaining in construction Orlando Health’s intent as conveyed through the design.

“Many projects have construction involved from the beginning, advising on budget, schedule, long-lead-time materials, etc.,” Martin said. “But the advantage of the design-build delivery model is to have an integrated team working collaboratively to deliver not just design services but also a tangible building. The union is a dynamic delivery of service in its highest form because we’re responsible to serve not only our client but also our internal team members. When you have a high-functioning team of professionals as we do in Haskell’s Healthcare group, we’re undoubtedly committed to not only our mutual success but ultimately the success of our client such as Orlando Health.”

Contact Haskell’s Healthcare Teams to envision and execute the seamless, state-of-the-art transformation of your health system’s campus.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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