This 52-bed LDPP program is housed on one floor along with a 24-bed NICU on a site 50 feet below the diagnostic level. The project includes a new education center, surgery waiting area, and expansion of the cancer program.

The solution for the Birthing Center simplified internal circulation, created an icon for the outpatient and short-stay programs, eased access to the cancer program, and consolidated parking in a 700-car garage, thus providing a single-level platform.

In keeping with a “small town” model, a rotunda forms the gateway and leads to “Main Street.” This dynamic armature links the Birthing Neighborhoods, the NICU, the Outpatient Surgery Waiting area, and the Education Center. Main Street runs the length of the building, opening to natural light and balconies.

Project category: New construction (completed August 2004)

Chief administrator: Andrea Serra, Vice-President, (704) 834-2158

Firm: KMD Architects, (415) 399-4905

Design team: James R. Diaz, Principal; Mohinder Datta, Director; Larry Parrett, Project Manager; Ken Caldwell, Planning Director; Christopher Griffes, Documents Specialist

Photography: Tim Griffith Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 484,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $136

Total construction cost (excluding land): $66,000,000

The Birthing Center maximizes staff efficiency. It is divided into four neighborhoods ringing a central support core, and the design provides a personal environment to each suite.

The 24-bed private-room NICU provides flexibility by permitting every two rooms to be opened up and staffed as four-bed pods. Waiting spaces introduce zones for reading, chatting, and television, while interior courtyards provide natural light.

With its all-white, precast concrete exterior, the skin is developed in multiple layers, allowing the building to “peel away.” This layering allowed more natural light.

The needs of patients and families were paramount in this project, as was reduced stress for staff, which is linked to staff effectiveness. The institution's goal was cost-effective support of its community. All these objectives were achieved.