UPMC Center for Connected Medicine

Photos: Ed Massery, Massery Photography Inc.

Bringing together the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, IBM, and Alcatel-Lucent, plus strategic partners Google, dbMotion, Johnson Controls, Polycom, and Research in Motion (RIM – makers of the BlackBerry), the Center for Connected Medicine showcases advances in high-level communication, computing, networking, and healthcare technologies in a one-of-a-kind “experience center.” Employing flexible, high-end presentation technologies, the center is a unique, immersive presentation environment.

The experience begins even before entering the center: an interactive Flash program greets visitors, reacting to movements and actions at the entrance, setting the stage for what is to come. Once inside, a series of Perceptive Pixel multi-touch screens, some as large as 36″x128″, present the Center’s history and mission using interactive content. Visitors are drawn to the Experience Stage by projected images and videos from multiple presentation modules. Eight rigid but moveable projection surfaces guide and draw guests throughout the Center. The presentation flow was modeled after virtual reality experiences often seen at theme parks. The Experience Stage itself is highly configurable. The twelve-foot-wide rear projection surfaces are mounted on rigid frames attached to rollers on tracks overhead (the walls do not move during a presentation), allowing the space to be readily reconfigured to suit whatever presentation needs are required.

A Unistrut grid makes possible a unique system of 15 standard widescreen projectors partnered with 17 additional ultra-short throw projectors. Because of low ceiling height restrictions, grid depth and the height of the projection surfaces (virtually 7-feet tall), these short throw projectors are a scant 18 inches from the projection surface, but enable additional flexibility by providing high-resolution picture-in-picture capabilities. In the meeting rooms surrounding the Experience Stage, moveable glass walls act as room dividers that double as a writing surface. An etched grid pattern laminated inside each glass panel was designed so that groups can brainstorm on the walls with dry erase markers during a meeting, or can open both glass walls for a larger gathering. Flexibility is even underfoot — most of the Experience Stage is on a 3″ raised floor platform to facilitate any future rewiring.


Pittsburgh, PA


The Design Alliance Architects


Key Facts

12,000 GSF


  • Best Project Over $1 Million Grand Prize, Archi-Tech Magazine, 2010
  • Best Healthcare AV Project, ProAV Magazine, 2010