Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center

Omaha, Nebraska

LEO A DALY designed a trailblazing and award-winning Ambulatory Care Center on the campus of the Omaha VA Medical Center. As of October 2021, the project has won more than 10 design awards, including a 2021 AIA National Healthcare Design Award.

The facility opened amid the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020 and provides primary care services for veterans in Nebraska and Western Iowa. The project was delivered by a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership. The entire project team collaborated with doctors, clinical staff and leadership to apply performance specifications and project-tailored criteria. Unlike previous VA healthcare projects, design and construction took place concurrently. The entire project team collaborated with doctors, clinical staff and leadership to apply performance specifications and project-tailored criteria.

Integrated design

The signature “flag” curtain wall on the north façade is at once an architectural expression and a feat of engineering. It resists a multitude of lateral forces, live and static loads, and it fits precisely with the building’s superstructure, all while meeting federal security requirements.

An off-site chilled-water plant supplies the new facility. Its location allows flexibility for future maintenance and upgrades without interrupting healthcare operations. One result of extensive stakeholder input resulted in a desiccant wheel to control humidity at lower-than-standard temperatures in operating rooms. The building’s lighting design won a 2021 global Award of Merit from the Illuminating Engineering Society.

Symbols of freedom, sacrifice, honor and duty

Our design of the Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center draws on patriotic iconography to honor veterans. For example, the primary facade expresses the form of an American flag rippling in the wind. It combines sophisticated structural design with aesthetic composition to depict freedom. The western façade conveys honor using glass panes of different hues that evoke the ribbons awarded to service members.

Selective limestone walls perform the duty of separating public spaces from secure clinical areas. The wall’s physical strength embodies security, while the limestone’s sedimentary layers reference periods of peace and conflict through which veterans have served. The stony composition reflects foreign soil tracked home. Although the limestone wall stands between clinical staff and sources of natural daylight, they can still intuitively experience the passage of time thanks to innovative electric lighting. The color-temperature changes throughout the day to emulate natural daylight, a first among VA healthcare facilities.

Patient-focused layout

Our design features the VA’s Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) prototype model and includes eight primary care PACT units, one specifically dedicated to women’s healthcare. There is also a specialty care unit and an ambulatory surgery suite. The building has 157,000 departmental gross square feet allocated in a three-level structure. A connector link to the existing hospital building will separate public-patient traffic patterns from the required service traffic for the new building.

The facility’s design promotes patient-centered environments throughout to focus on the relationship between the physical environment and the patients’ overall experience. The design creates a healing environment that integrates spaces of escape and refuge, positive distractions, access to views and nature and abundance of natural daylight. Outside, patients and visitors can take time for reflection in a new healing garden.

Client 

Veterans Ambulatory Center Development Corporation

At a glance

157,000 SF

First of its kind public-private partnership

Surgical suite

Women’s health center

Features

Evidence-based design principles

Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) prototype model

Eight primary care PACT units

Sustainable design features

Services

Full architectural design services

Interior design

Mechanical, electrical and structural engineering

Awards

National AIA Healthcare Design Award

Healthcare Facilities Symposium Distinction awards, Teamwork Award

2020 Outstanding Alumni Project Award, Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction

2020 Nebraska AIA People’s Choice Award

2020 Interior Design Best of Year Project Finalist

2021 Illuminating Engineering Society Global Award of Merit

2021 Procore Groundbreaker Awards Finalist – Project Excellence Category

2021 Glass Magazine Awards – Best Protective Glazing Project

2021 BD+C Building Team Award

2021 ENR Regional Best Project Award

2021 Healthcare Design Showcase

2021 American Institute of Steel Construction Ideas2 Awards Finalist