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Projects | Curtains Rise on SITL

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Ladies and gentlemen, kindly silence your mobile devices because the show is about to begin at the University of Illinois’s new Surgical Innovation and Training Laboratory (SITL). This past month, the stage has been set for the world-class laboratory, designed as a convergence of nature and technology to inspire the surgeons and prototype the operating rooms of tomorrow. Director Dr. Pier Giulianotti and his cast of students and doctors now have an incredibly flexible and inspiring space to perform the art of robotic surgical research and training, including developing revolutionary techniques and tools.

This cutting-edge facility, featured in New Yorker Magazine, gives the art of performing surgery a literal meaning. The stage once was a dark basement of a 1938 medical lab, chosen for its proximity to the departments who would use the new facility. After performing a feasibility study, Bailey Edward worked with Cannon Design to turn a once dark, old basement into a plug-and-play stage where students and surgeons alike can practice robotic surgery, field surgery, and future methods that may not have been developed yet. The wings of the stage contain storage for these innovative machines, prep rooms, and classrooms.

Experimental labs allow equipment to be easily installed or removed, mimicking the minimally invasive surgeries and procedures its users will perform in the future. As a teaching laboratory, the space is fully equipped with cameras and monitors, allowing students and staff to become the audience for any procedure within the facility and/or to connect with facilities outside of UIC.

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Large, glass pyramids in the plaza above, also a Bailey Edward project with long-time partner Rubinos & Mesia, act as stage lights, providing much-needed light and outdoor views on the acting surgeons. Unexpected textures, patterns, nature-inspired geometries, and a living plant wall provide a biophilic sensory environment. Polished surfaces, translucent and switchable glass walls, and pervasive technology create the sense of working in a futuristic machine.

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As the curtain rose on stage, the University celebrated with a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony. You can tour the facility and hear from Bailey Edward and Cannon designers as well as the surgeons who will use the space here.

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