Gift of Life | Michigan

Gift of Life Michigan—a non-profit organization in Ann Arbor working as a liaison between donors, hospitals, and transplant centers—is Michigan’s only federally designated organ and tissue recovery program, providing all services necessary for organ donation in Michigan.

Since 1971, Gift of Life Michigan has been performing transplant and tissue surgeries in hospitals and surgery centers throughout the state. To expand their mission of maximizing organ and tissue donation, the organization wanted to develop an Organ Procurement Center at their existing facility. The goal of this project was unite the two buildings on their site and provide them with state-of-the-art surgical facilities and an event center.

The new surgical suite includes two tissue and two organ procurement rooms which are more than 700 SF providing ample space for multiple donor recovery teams. The multipurpose event center was included in the design and can accommodate more than 300 people and is intended for staff meetings, lectures, donor family celebrations, conferences, educational opportunities, and fundraising events.

The design challenge was connecting their existing buildings which were at different finished floor levels, with a new 39,500 SF state-of-the-art surgery and event center. The different floor levels required the incorporation of vertical design elements to connect the various finished floor heights while the exterior’s design modernizes the campus and sets the stage for future renovations.

A new entrance featuring an angular form helps to emphasize its location and importance while the interior color and finish palettes inspire and comfort employees, guests, and donor families. The combination of metal panels, glass, and brick provide an innovative exterior reflective of Gift of Life’s mission to “maximize organ and tissue donation for transplantation through innovative programs and exceptional service.”

The roof garden was designed to provide family members and medical staff with a quiet place for reflection while also functioning as a mechanism for storm water control, moderating the urban heat island effect, and improving the air quality. Many other sustainable strategies were also incorporated into the design including: a well-insulated exterior wall system that exceeds energy codes values, low VOC paints and finishes, non-PVC carpet with pre-consumer recycled content, abundant use of natural light, LED lighting with occupancy sensors, and sun shading to reduces solar heat gain. Additionally, electric car charging stations and bike lockers were included to encourage alternate, energy-efficient modes of transportation.