Comfort Zone: Fans Give Indoor Hospital Garden an Outdoor Feel
Big Ass Fans
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor (Mich.) Hospital is a 537-bed teaching hospital located on a 340-acre campus.
A recent $294 million overhaul included a facelift of some areas and complete replacement of the two patient care towers.
The seven-story, 225,000-square-foot north tower includes units for intensive and progressive care for mothers and their babies, neurology and stroke patients, as well as a rehabilitation unit.
A meditation garden on the rehabilitation floor offers a quiet place for patients and visitors to relax. The garden was designed to have an outdoor feel, with abundant natural daylight coming in through two-story glass curtain walls and large skylights, along with flowers, grass and artificial trees. The only thing missing was a gentle breeze, but the hospital designers took care of that detail with a little help from Big Ass Fans.
Two 12-foot diameter Element® fans play a crucial role in making the atrium feel comfortable. Unlike smaller ceiling fans that struggle to send air to the floor in tall spaces and create small pockets of air movement, the large diameter, low-speed fans provide a gentle mixing and stabilized air movement without creating a draft, using airfoils and winglets to increase downward velocities.
The fans also complement the aesthetic of the space, with a sleek silver finish that does not detract from the garden’s glass construction and natural feel.
“It’s a great look for the space and the style of construction that we did,” says Dave Raymond, the hospital’s director of planning and design. “We use the garden for inpatient rehabilitation, with the concept being we could bring the patients in and let them feel like they’re outside, to hear the rustling in the trees. It’s never fun to go to the hospital, so it’s important to feel like you can get away.”