Madison, WI

UW Health at the American Center

With the main hospital in downtown Madison, UW Health chose to consolidate orthopedic services in a new suburban facility. Along with hospital beds and an Emergency Department, it includes outpatient services and a sports performance and wellness center.

We partnered with Madison-based Flad Architects to design logic that supports the shared-space design concept: internal departments and clinics can expand and contract as service offerings, and patient volumes require. 

This shared-space design poses unique wayfinding challenges for staff and patients. The system is based on lettered “pods” with a range of architectural room numbers, which do not change. The service that occupies that pod, however, does. UW Health implemented a tablet-based system throughout the hospital to manage this information: patient information is displayed within staff areas; wayfinding information appears in public areas. Both update in real-time. 

  • Signage is designed with the architecture in mind: using materials that reflect exterior features and interior design, the concept looks “healing, but not clinical.”
  • From the two primary entrances, visitors use a self-service kiosk to check-in and receive their room assignment for the day. They navigate to the room or suite entrance by themselves, using a printed sheet with directions.
  • An electronic suite identification sign accommodates the flexible spaces required in this building.
  • Interior wayfinding combines electronic maps and directories, clean signage, and landmark artwork to help people find their way.
  • Exterior signage features text that reads as black during the day and lights up white at night. For emphasis, Emergency always appears as white on an illuminated red field.

This new build required a full array of wayfinding and donor signage standards, from high-level identification to back-of-house room information. Simple wayfinding logic is presented on signage using a combination of clear language and internationally recognized symbols to support navigation throughout the facility.