Shield's canopy headwall, designed by Cannon Design, was successfully delivered to UCSD.

Shield’s canopy headwall delivered to UCSD Medical Center

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Cannon Design’s Yazdani Studio was commissioned to plan and design the Jacobs Medical Center, a 10-story multi-specialty hospital, in a major expansion for the UC San Diego Health System.

Shield first partnered with Cannon and Modular Services Company to turn an institutional medical product, the patient headwall, into an architectural element that is as functional as it is beautiful.

Cannon Design’s technology integration in headwall design

Cutting-edge technology is crucial in a competitive healthcare landscape but its infrastructure conflicts with optimum healing environments. Seamlessly integrating complex medical and technology infrastructure into a graceful solution serves the patient and the function equally.

State-of-the-art facilities use evidence-based design to devise solutions. The UCSD canopy headwall used measurable data on hospital use, patient needs, other projects and most importantly, critical user group testing.

Cannon’s research results showed that while technology is integral to care, it cannot dominate the space. Their headwall connects medical gases with nurse call functionality, lighting, HVAC controls, and generally serves as the technological hub of the room to deliver the best information to patients and staff in an unobtrusive manner.

To do so, Cannon used design research to devise a way to house the room’s technology within a single element, the headwall’s innovative canopy.

Shield's canopy headwall, designed by Cannon Design, integrates all technology in the core.

A headwall that reduces clutter and adds control

The canopy’s organic and flowing nature softens the space while its high-tech core smoothly links all of the devices. It evokes a greater hospitality feel than traditional headwalls that simply take the place of drywall, and keeps patients from feeling dwarfed by a cavernous ceiling. The canopy headwall grounds the room in an envelope of warmth through ambient light and comfortable curving lines.

Not just reducing clutter and the potential for errors, the canopy headwall also adds control: patients can make comfort decisions and access information without physical exertion. At the same time, nurses and care staff have a standard work zone. When patients check out, the room is quickly and easily reset.

Yet the innovative design was complicated to execute. Hundreds of feet of data, electrical, oxygen, vacuum and other medical gases had to fit in a compact package. Additionally, the complex curves throughout the headwall had to fit precisely to meet stringent healthcare standards.

Shield’s canopy headwall fabrication

The design and fabrication team used an intensive prototyping process to deliver the headwall as originally designed. Prototyping quickly revealed issues with detailing and materials.

Utility connection and curvature details were problematic, stalling progress and driving up cost. Initially, the canopy headwall was fabricated with plastic laminate but the compound, tapering radius meant achieving smooth surface was impossible without adding many seams.

Shield Casework’s solid surface fabrication fit the complex requirements preserved the headwall’s design intent. Modular and Shield simplified utility connections and worked through the complex build to meet the budget and design intent.

Shield’s canopy headwall is versatile, modular and inherently clean: Shield Casework’s proprietary solid surface fabrication clads Modular’s framework to reduce the risk of infection.

The canopy headwall’s thermoformed solid surface material is nonporous and seamless, making it easy to sanitize and resistant to the spread of pathogens. The team even designed and made custom outlet covers to meet the gentle slope of the headwall for a completely nonporous.

Shield's canopy headwall was successfully delivered to UCSD.

Shield’s canopy headwall delivered to UCSD

Together, Cannon Design, Modular and Shield delivered a design that truly innovates but is grounded in real-life use for UCSD. This team will deliver 242 headwalls for UCSD’s Jacobs Medical Center in 2014.

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AUTHOR - Mandy Stark

Leading Shield’s identity, Mandy Stark heads up the brand strategy through fresh and relevant Smarketing planning, creative execution and social media-savvy. Her knowledge base spans PR, marketing, web and social media; and she applies all of this overseeing Shield’s brand strategy and communications efforts. She’s a formidable strategist, a tenacious defender of smart, efficient thinking and a true ambassador for the Shield brand.

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