Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thoughts on architecture, healing, and the Starship

Current Orthopaedic Hospital building.

So... I've been spending a lot of time at PT at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, part of a cluster of Columbia-St. Mary's related buildings. The OHW isn't that old, but they are building a new one. A much uglier one- see below.

I really like the original glass OHW building. It's so open, so modern. There is a fountain in the - I'm never sure what is "the front" in a non-new urbanism building that you are supposed to drive to, like Panera or Trader Joe's a couple miles north on Silver Spring. (Of course, the idea of "walking to the orthopedic hospital"- despite the fact that I live four blocks away...induces almost-non-ironic laughter.) Anyway, I spend a bit of time enjoying the fountain every time I am there. Water fountain on the OHW patio. I visit it every time I am there.

It is very soothing and something about the heft of the stones, the beauty of the water, and its the peaceful aura offer a contrast with the modern glass in a way which I greatly enjoy.

The new building, however, (below) looks like some kind of claustrophobic school building, nearly windowless.
New Orthopaedic Hospital, under construction. I hope it somehow becomes more attractive.
My PT explained to me that the vast amount of glass, though nice for humans, was an invitation for frequent and inadvertent bird suicide. That was part of the reason for the new design; it is possible that energy savings were also a factor, though I note no solar panels. Knowing that natural light is so important for the psyche (and therefore healing), though, I have mixed feelings about it. Plus, it's not as though they are going to tear down the existing building: it will be repurposed into much-more-convenient offices. Please, birds, try to remember.

And then there's the Riverwoods building just down the way. Whenever I give people directions to get there, I tell them, "It kind of looks like a spaceship." Doesn't it sort of look like the Enterprise? Sort of? (Just say yes. It will make me feel happy- or at least not crazy.)
Someone once told me that the Human Resources building right on Port Washington Road "looks like an insane asylum." I prefer the Enterprise. I didn't get a picture of that one- the old Scott Paper Company, repurposed; you can see that one for yourself, just to the east of I-43, if you are so inclined.


mikemiller34 said...

I'll have to chime in after being there on Tuesday. Aside: the word verification word is "gnablort". That's probably the sound my rib cage will make when they push it back into alignment ;-)

The River Otter said...


That's my new cuss word. Awesome!

mikemiller34 said...

Well, PT is in the basement of the current building, which I found a bit odd. . .isn't that kind of their main specialty? Not much light down there. It all seemed a bit makeshift, as if departments had been moved around multiple times.

But who cares? The service provided there is absolutely first rate (as I hope you have also found). And indeed, during the treatment portion of today's session, there were a couple mild "gnablorts" as he applied pressure to my ribs from the rear.

Anonymous said...

"there were a couple mild "gnablorts" as he applied pressure to my ribs from the rear."

The River Otter said...

The new PT office will be smaller, but have much more natural light. The PT's have mixed feelings about it, I hear...

I had some Gnablorts today also. She told me I am doing really well and graduated me on to some more interesting exercises. Progress!!

Glad you like it. I referred another person there too (shoulder). They should send me flowers or chocolate or something...although lack of pain is truly gift enough!!