Project category: New construction (completed November 2004)

Chief administrator: Richard C. Breon, President and CEO, (616) 391-1601

Firm: URS Corporation, (616) 574-8500

Design team: Joseph P. Greenan, RA, Principal-in-Charge; Matthew W. Kennedy, AIA, NCARB, Medical Planner/Designer; James Boles, RA, NCARB, Project Architect; Arthur G. Veneklase, PE, LEED AP, Engineering Services Director; Julia A. Goetzka, IIDA, Interior Designer

Photography: Jeff Dykehouse; © Justin Maconochie

Total building area (sq. ft.): 330,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $242

Total construction cost (excluding land): $80,000,000


In consolidating the heart and vascular services of two health organizations onto one campus, Spectrum Health envisioned a tower that would house Western Michigan's world-class program. It was necessary that the tower visually connect with the collection of surrounding buildings representing a rich architectural vocabulary spanning three centuries.

The new Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center is located on a tight building site adjacent to the urban business and historic districts of Grand Rapids. Because of the predominant use of brick and precast concrete in these districts through the years, these materials were employed as a unifying element. The bolder use of glass in contemporary application gives a lighter, open expression, providing a timeless appearance in conjunction with the brick and concrete.

Spectrum Health embraces the concept of therapeutic healing environments. A three-level oriental healing garden employs ancient Eastern precepts, which are believed to promote balance in life energy, resulting in the promotion of wholeness and health.

Continuing the aspect of the building as a therapeutic environment is the integration of art throughout. The main lobby includes a curved, sculpted blue-glass donor-recognition wall, transcending three floors.

The design also addresses the needs of the community. An outdoor plaza provides opportunities for public sculpture and activity, energizing this corner. This results in a pedestrian-friendly transition to the adjacent medical buildings, as well as the adjoining neighborhood.

The project reflects a design for the future while creating a sense of permanence and stature synonymous with the quality of care delivery represented by Spectrum Health.