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  My role is to partner with the client to create something that’s really powerful for them.

Percy “Rebel” Roberts

Vice President, Discipline Leader - Architecture

Chicago, Illinois

Architects, interior designers, landscape architects, and engineers create remarkable places. It’s the passion these creatives have for their design that energizes Percy “Rebel” Roberts III. Rebel is driven by the opportunity to work with these inspiring people to share their passion and accelerate design excellence. At Stantec, Rebel celebrates accomplishments, honors the work, and speaks loudly to our clients, peers, and the public about the extraordinary efforts we’re making to create a new, sustainable world.

Over the course of a 35-year career, Rebel has led planning and design projects which have garnered numerous design awards, including the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence. He’s successfully directed teams in the planning, development, and implementation of projects totaling more than $5 billion worldwide, including the award-winning Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago.

As discipline leader for architecture in the US, Rebel leads the design of buildings that are socially significant in the community—such as the Compensar Family Health and Education Center in Colombia. Elsewhere, exploring and practicing participatory architecture, Rebel involved patients and families in the creation of a 24/7 amenity area at the Ronald McDonald House in McLean, Virginia—an AIA Award winner. Based on design excellence and his significant contributions to the advancement of the profession, Rebel was elevated to the prestigious American Institute of Architects Class of 2016 College of Fellows.

Rebel believes great design must “energize the spaces and buildings with a spirit that grows from the deep roots of our culture and our dreams.” He consistently engages communities and champions environmental responsibility to promote a healthier future. He advocates for evidence-based, people-centered design, cooperation within the design, planning, and construction professions, and overall design excellence in the Stantec Buildings group.

WHAT I'M UP TO

Northwestern Memorial Hospital wins ACHA Legacy Award

Join Rebel and others as they explore the hospital's innovative features

Transcript of the video follows
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<p>Rebel Roberts – buildings have signatures. You go into a building and there is almost an immediate visceral response to the building. And if the building can deliver the message of the institution, it’ll create a memory for you, it’ll create a legacy over time.</p> <p>James adams – when people walk in, the immediate reaction is “oh, this doesn’t even look and feel like a hospital. It’s comforting, and it feels welcoming.</p> <p>Rebel – Feinberg Galter was able to create this very distinctive connection between the patients and the people who were coming in the building. The architectural character came from the precedents of the older buildings on the campus. This ascendant neo gothic that is sort of inspirational architecture, that sort of lifts you up.</p> <p>Jim mladucky – the cathedral of healing was a theme that was brought forward, and so the vaulting of the ceilings that you see, the wood, the marble, the limestone</p> <p>Rebel – everything that someone would see, touch, and feel, so that you see something, you understand it, generates a feeling about it, and it affects your behavior.&nbsp; Every place where you can touch we would light wood handrails, every feature wall we light it was a natural wood material that had a warmth to it. the use of natural light is extraordinary. So all the public spaces have multistory natural light that comes in from the north light.</p> <p>The Streeterville neighborhood is characterized by extraordinary residential environment, and its populated with people who care deeply about the quality of life in this neighborhood. They wanted to see a mixed use building. They wanted to see an extension of Michigan Avenue, and landing of that use into the residential neighborhood.</p> <p>Julie Creamer - The whole environment here feels like a community. The open space that we have on the first three floors is open to our community, and it really feels almost like a little city.</p> <p>Jim – it’s warm, it’s welcoming, it’s inviting. And people come here, not only because they’re seeing their doctors now but our neighbors use our pathways and our retail every day.</p> <p>James - The retail component: it’s like the town square, it’s like the city center, and every city, every town needs that town square to anchor it.</p> <p>Jim – having people in the building who aren’t here for medical reasons really makes this a vibrant campus. It’s really helped, I think, in the whole patient experience.</p> <p>Innovation in healthcare, it’s all about flexibility.</p> <p>James - This building, designed in the 1990s has stood the test of time for a full generation, and in that generation, almost everything inside that building has changed. On the mezzanine above the emergency department was medical records. We’ve now become completely electronic. We don’t need those large file rooms that we used to have. As those file rooms went away, we turned that into care space where we created an authentic and true emergency department. As the emergency department volume and complexity and demands increased, we realized that the rooms that we designed in the 1990s are essentially all critical care rooms.</p> <p>Rebel – the patient rooms at Feinberg became the building block for the way we think about patient rooms going forward.</p> <p>Julie - Our mission here at Northwestern is patients first, so as we were designing we thought about what that meant, and there are simple examples. We built shelves specifically for flowers, so that if a patient received cards and flowers, they had a place to put them. We have a zone for the families. That zone includes a pull down bed so that family members can spend the night.</p> <p>Rebel – you reduce average length of stay if you have more family involvement in the patient room and patient care.</p> <p>Julie – so we tried to pay attention to the details that we heard from our patients, their families, and our staff that were important to them.</p> <p>Jim – what makes me the most proud is the commitment that we have to the patient, and how that commitment transferred translated through the building and through the facilities.</p> <p>Julie - Many of the successes we have, and again things like the design of the patient room, the sense of confidence that you get when you walk into the building, the ease of navigation for our patients and families, those are things that have become hallmarks of Northwestern Medicine, and they’re things that we’ve carried as we do new projects around the health system.</p> <p>Rebel – what animates these buildings, the purpose of these buildings is caring for people. It is a legacy that says we can do better, we can take care of people in a powerful and compelling way. To me it’s always been about the people and about looking in someone’s eyes to make sure that we got it right.</p> <p>Julie – the story of this building is one of innovation and I would say discovery. And so as we look to the future, that spirit will continue. As an academic medical center, that’s what we’re all about.</p>

THE CONFERENCE TRAIL
At Design for Quaternary Centers in Asia, I advanced the idea that as Asia’s medical care evolves, design that incorporates translational research, care, graduate medical education, and community health will become the foundation new care is built on.

In presenting “The new vertical campus: Historical campus planning precedents and the new Roosevelt University Tower,” for the Chicago Architecture Foundation, I examined the idea of the traditional university campus as a critical partner in the urban landscape.

As a member of the national AIA committee on design I traveled to London to review current and projected work that is ongoing in the U.K. and to work with the Royal Institute of British Architects to coordinate communication initiatives to promote design excellence.

WHERE I’M PUBLISHED
In 2014, I published “Specialized Hospitals, Design, and Planning” a book on specialized healthcare environments and design solutions that respond to the concerns of contemporary healthcare providers.

WHAT I’M READING
For the latest news and trends, I turn to my Flipboard subscriptions: Triangularized, Sustainable Architecture, Design Milk, and Architect by Dedo.

Art and architecture are inextricably linked. Recently, I read “Realisation-from Seeing to Understanding: The Origins of Art” by Julian Spalding, an exploration of iconic historical feats of art.

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