Armstrong CONTINUUM™ Tonal Color System Makes Patient Wayfinding Easy
Everything about the new Portneuf Medical Center is colorful. The palettes for the interior finishes, furniture and artwork
work together to create a welcoming, soothing environment for patients and staff alike. Oversized windows provide ample views
of the many-hued twin mountains in the nearby Pocatello valley. And, while some hospital floors can look drab, Portneuf’s
floors features waves of colorful ribbons threading their way across the neutral field colors. While these colors are very
aesthetically pleasing, they also play a key functional role. “On this project, wayfinding for patients and staff is critical.
Colors are used throughout the six-story facility to help identify departments and services,” according to Cathy Roach, RID,
IIDA, director of design at Ascension Group Architects, LLC, the firm that designed the full service regional medical center.
In addition to using color to distinguish different areas from each other, the design challenge included using colors and
designs that work together to achieve a harmonious whole. “Being able to coordinate colors between sheet and tile floors was
an added benefit of specifying the Armstrong family of products,” Roach says.
Armstrong CONTINUUM™ Simplifies the Selection Process for Fast Track Projects
Portneuf was built using a fast track construction schedule, which meant the Ascension Group worked with an accelerated timeline
for project delivery. But, finding interior finish colors that are the “right colors” and that work well together can take
a lot of time. The Armstrong CONTINUUM system assists architects and designers working on fast track projects by allowing
designers to quickly mix and match flooring choices to achieve a naturally integrated look. It also simplifies the design
process because the colors and designs are coordinated within product lines and cross-coordinated with other Armstrong flooring
lines. Three floor products— MEDINTONE™, MARMORETTE™ and EXCELON® Stonetex®— feature Armstrong CONTINUUM and are used throughout
the Portneuf project.
Designers chose seven coordinating MEDINTONE sheet vinyl colors for the halls and patient rooms. “MEDINTONE has proven itself
to the hospital owners and our firm to be a great product on previous projects, both in cost and performance. Its broad color
line allowed us to create unique and dynamic floor patterns throughout the facility,” Roach says. MEDINTONE has 64 sophisticated
colors, all featuring CONTINUUM color and design harmony plus excellent durability and a UV-cured coating for low-maintenance
Portneuf’s cafeteria features MARMORETTE linoleum in the neutral, earthy “the boardwalk” color. MARMORETTE is one of Armstrong’s
broadest linoleum product lines, featuring 67 colors and classic linoleum marbling. Eight colors of EXCELON Stonetex tile
are used in hallways and utility areas. This true non-directional product is available in 37 organic colors and two sizes
(12 x 12 in. and 18 x 18 in.).
Performance, Cost and Maintenance
Five other Armstrong floors were chosen for this project based on a combination of characteristics. According to Roach, “LINORETTE™
and GRANETTE™ linoleum was specified for the hospital’s dining facility because the product’s visual provided an upgraded
appearance while ensuring the floors would be durable and easily cleanable.” LINORETTE features 12 colors in a bold blend
of highlights and contrasts. GRANETTE is offered in 18 colors with a range of neutrals and earth-based colors. Both lines
coordinate with the Armstrong portfolio of flooring solutions.
MEDINTECH® vinyl sheet in operating/surgical areas, some hallways and patient rooms provides excellent durability. Its UVcured
coating also allows for low-maintenance cleaning. Heatweldable seams ensure aseptic performance to critical-care spaces, while
adhesive seaming with Armstrong S-761 Seam Adhesive in non-aseptic spaces saves installation time, materials and costs.
The project also uses MEDLEY™ at red line locations. Roach explains, “These are the small borders that designate where staff
enter the sterile surgical suite. Some facilities use red tape. We always specify a sheet vinyl red line, which looks so much
better, as you can imagine.” MEDLEY is a value-priced homogeneous product featuring excellent durability plus a UV-cured coating
for low maintenance options.
The Portneuf hospital design features an internal circulation spine spanning multiple floors in orientation, providing access
to key services and amenities from a central datum. The circulation element has a fluidity to it, which is also visually expressed
in waves of color on the floor. That meant working with installers who were true craftspeople and who could also meet the
project’s accelerated timeframe. Wall 2 Wall Floorcoverings, headquartered in Pocatello, met both criteria.
Wall 2 Wall’s Commercial Division assigned more than two dozen installers to the job, working around the clock. Bill Bohrer,
Wall 2 Wall president, says, “The water jet process was particularly challenging, requiring two water jet companies to produce
all the pieces and deliver on time. Our installers were put to the test by the huge amount of inlays and heat welded seams.”
The complex ribbons are comprised of more than 30,000 lineal feet of water jetcut tile and sheet vinyl. Some of them are more
than 70 feet long and cove up the wall. Even with the challenge of a fast track project and intricate designs, with the network
support of Armstrong and the distributor, they were able to meet the schedule.
Portneuf was single largest construction project in Pocatello’s history, presenting a challenge for any materials supplier,
and the fast track construction schedule meant a lot of different flooring products would need to deliver simultaneously on
an accelerated timeframe. Roach says Ascension Group trusted Armstrong to come through for them and for the hospital. “Our
client expects the finish materials we specify to be readily available at the time the job is built and afterwards when patching
is required, or when a future renovation is planned. Armstrong gives us the peace of mind that when we need a product, it
will be there.”
Bohrer also thinks Armstrong is a trusted partner. He explains, “We were short of a color of weld rod for an area that absolutely
had to be finished by the end of December, 2010. Armstrong express mailed our rod the moment it got off the container ship
from Europe. Our Armstrong rep, Greg Wilson, and Armstrong senior managers helped make it happen.” Bohrer’s faith in Armstrong
goes beyond the Portneuf project. “Armstrong products are always top quality and the customer service is top notch and reliable.
All manufacturers have problems, and the best ones take care of the problems quickly and with no hassle. Armstrong falls squarely
in the ‘best ones’ category,” he says.
Ascension Group is proud to include Portneuf Medical Center in its collective works. Roach says, “It was a challenging job,
but the community of Pocatello and the surrounding areas has had such a positive response to the hospital campus.” Bohrer
adds, “The entire town is very proud of the hospital. The public open house was very well attended and the floor is without
question the interior highlight.”
Capping off the excitement, Ascension and Wall 2 Wall were honored with the 2012 Starnet Design Competition “Unique Installation
Challenge” award for their superior designs and installation capabilities.
Portneuf Medical Center
|DESIGNER / ARCHITECT:
Ascension Group, LLC
MEDINTECH, MEDINTONE, NATURAL CREATIONS Mystix, MARMORETTE, LINORETTE, GRANETTE, EXCELON Stonetex, MEDLEY