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Armstrong NATURAL CREATIONS® Mystix® and MEDINTECH® Flooring – A Foundation for Teaching Tomorrow’s Healthcare Professionals

How does an unfinished basement with concrete walls and no natural light become a state-of-the-art training and learning environment for medical professionals? For their transformation, the Einstein Center for Clinical Competency in Philadelphia, Pa. called Designer/Architect Tasso Karras at nearby Stantec, Inc. By using Armstrong NATURAL CREATIONS® Mystix® and MEDINTECH®, Tasso was able to create a warm, comfortable environment that was also a realistic representation of what the trainees would encounter in the real world.

Real-Life Experience in a Safe Environment

The Simulation Center at Albert Einstein Hospital is a 6,500 square foot, state-of-the-art facility designed to give physicians, nurses and other allied health students and professionals the opportunity to learn best practices, procedures and skills in a safe environment. The Center gives students and professionals real life patient experiences with artificially created scenarios that replicate actual patient care.

But before it became a leading center for simulation education, the space the Center was slated to occupy could hardly be considered an ideal learning environment. “It was like a basement,” said Tasso Karras, a senior project designer and an associate with Stantec in Philadelphia, PA. “It was on a lower level of an existing building with no natural sunlight and concrete masonry block walls. It was very institutional.”

The hospital and community worked tirelessly to raise funds for the new Simulation Center and turned to Karras to bring their vision for this cutting-edge learning environment to life. “The Simulation Center needed to incorporate teaching and training spaces that mimicked the environment healthcare professionals might encounter on a regular basis,” said Karras. Patient rooms, intensive care units, suture rooms, an operating room as well as several multipurpose rooms were all incorporated into the design of the Simulation Center.

Warm, Natural Look Eases Long Hours

“I wanted the space to be warm, but not distracting, especially since I knew some students would be spending several hours in the Simulation Center for classes,” said Karras who focused on flooring in neutral colors with a natural look. Karras knew his clients wanted something outside of a traditional wood look so he suggested a luxury vinyl tile in a more contemporary pattern called sideline warm brown from the Armstrong® NATURAL CREATIONS® Mystix® collection.

Mystix includes dramatic wood, metal and stone patterned-tiles styled to express a space’s ultimate fashion statement. Playful colors mix well with more neutral tones for truly innovative floor design. Mystix includes a collection of contemporary styles and colors created to reflect current and future design trends and can be easily mixed and matched with other NATURAL CREATIONS collections including EarthCuts® and ArborArt®. “The pattern offered texture in a neutral color and allowed me to coordinate fabric and paint colors easily in the common areas of the Simulation Center,” said Karras

Durability, Style and Health

Performance was also important to Karras who said, “The flooring needed to stand up to not only foot traffic, but wear and tear from gurneys, wheel chairs and other rolling medical equipment.” Mystix® is as durable as it stylish, offering an abrasion-resistant wear layer with a UV-cured coating for low maintenance. Mystix is third-party FloorScore™ certified for low VOC emission, compliant with California Section 01350 and LEED® eligible. “Low VOCs was important to me,” said Karras. “I was designing a space for healthcare students and professionals and I wanted to provide them not only with an inspiring learning environment, but a healthy one.”

In addition to the common areas, Karras also specified Armstrong flooring for the Simulation Center’s operating room. “I wanted the operating room to be as realistic as possible so I specified MEDINTECH® sheet flooring.” MEDINTECH homogenous sheet is a proven industry standard, offering a broad range of colors that coordinate with Armstrong’s portfolio of flooring solutions. Karras selected Medintech in brushed sand—a soft neutral—for the Simulation Center’s operating room. It is easy to find different products that connect with color since Armstrong products are designed to coordinate with each other.

Warm, Comfortable Learning

Versatility is the hallmark of sheet flooring offering a winning combination of resilience, aesthetics, durability, maintainability and value. Patterns and colors are easily integrated for area-to-area design flexibility and coordination. Armstrong offers homogeneous, heterogeneous and in-laid structures for various applications. And like Mystix®, Medintech ® is third party FloorScore™ certified for low VOC emission, compliant with California Section 01350 and LEED® eligible. “My clients love the flooring. The whole Simulation Center feels warm and comfortable, and provides an excellent learning space for current and future students,” said Karras.

The new Simulation Center at Einstein’s Center for Clinical competency was installed in May of 2010. The partnership between Armstrong, Stantec and the Center created an environment that offers allied healthcare students learning comfort and real life patient experiences.

Armstrong is the industry’s 150 plus year old trusted source for commercial flooring, offering a broad selection of flooring products with variety of colors, patterns and sustainable attributes suitable for any healthcare facility. Let Armstrong make your job a little easier by being your one-stop-shop for all your flooring needs.


Einstein Center for Clinical Competency
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Stantec, Inc.


Sideline Warm Brown
Brushed Sand
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