The University of Illinois at Chicago’s Surgical Innovation Training Lab (SITL) boldly advances simulation and surgical education as a space where doctors, researchers, educators and commercial partners will imagine, experiment and help create the surgical rooms of the future and allow surgeons to train with the latest in robotic and minimally invasive surgical tools.
UIC challenged our design team along with our partner firm, Bailey Edward, to create a space that allows for education using today’s latest technologies and also includes a space for “out of the box” thinking, experimentation, research, collaboration and discoveries. It is one of the only training spaces existing today that aims to advance medicine and surgery in such unknown or harrowing terrains. The ability to test out surgical procedures in untested environments — outer space, the desert, a life raft — is a core piece of the SITL
Some of the jury’s comments about the project were:
- The bold graphics work in an underground space, makes it feel vibrant. The skylights are a smart solution.
- This will attract students. This becomes a destination location for the campus.
- The skylight and living wall in the basement elevate it to a higher level reducing the expected feeling of isolation in a basement environment.
Key to the design is the Innovation Lab, which was inspired by theater design. At the wings are a traditional surgical simulation space as well as a experimental garage. Equipment from these areas can be pulled to the center Innovation Lab space to test new tools, procedures and more. As lead designer Carlos Amato explains, “The perfect space is an empty space. The most flexible space you can create is an empty space. The lab is surrounded by devices, props, everything you need for whatever activity you want to do. The experimental lab is designed so you can reproportion the size of the room, can hang screens from ceiling grid to reproportion and change size of the room to small, medium, large and customize it.”