The Inova Heart and Vascular Institute expands the mission of the Heart Center at Inova Fairfax Hospital by providing education, research, and treatment programs featuring state-of-the-art design and advanced technology. The Institute's diagnostic and treatment capabilities include heart and lung transplantation, catheterization and electrophysiology labs, surgical suites, rehabilitation centers, and an education center with telemedicine capabilities.

The five-story, 320,000-square-foot addition features a 156-bed tower. Forty-eight beds are committed to cardiac ICU, and 108 beds are reserved for cardiac telemetry. Patient rooms are of universal design, with 85% of them private. Also included are six cardiovascular operating rooms, three EP labs, eight catheterization labs, a 38-cubicle short-stay unit, and a 1,000-car garage connected to the Institute. Special focus was placed on planning strategies that would improve the flow of service and materials while segregating staff/service and patient/visitor circulation.

A three-level, light-filled, circular atrium lobby serves as a focal point for the Institute, as well as a ceremonial entry. A lush plant-and-rock garden encircles the atrium exterior, blurring the transition from indoors to outdoors. Art sculptures commissioned for the space and the sound of water emanating from the center fountain pool engage the user and inform their first impressions of this unique environment.

Project category: Addition (completed October 2004)

Chief administrator: Candice Saunders, Chief Operating Officer, (703) 698-3347

Firm: Wilmot/Sanz, Inc., (301) 590-2900

Design team: James C. Wilmot, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Dwight Fincher, AIA, Architectural Designer; Michael Bergeron, AIA, Project Architect; Joseph Giunta, AIA, Project Architect; Su Kim, NCIDQ, Interior Designer

Photography: Michael Dersin Photography; Sisson Studios

Total building area (sq. ft.): 320,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $238

Total construction cost (excluding land): $76,200,000

The atrium is linked to the garage entry by an “information corridor,” designed as a resource for patients, staff, and visitors. Interactive computer kiosks and multimedia displays provide information on aspects of cardiovascular disease, diagnostics, treatments, lifestyle education, hospital services, wayfinding, and local area accommodations.


Patient rooms are grouped around a decentralized nursing core, with nurses' stations located at opposite corners and charting stations between rooms, which act as docking stations for mobile charting. Universal patient rooms are sized for family inclusion and incorporate millwork footwalls that have a residential, built-in quality.

Hospitality-style furnishings, indirect lighting, patient floor carpeting, and natural finish materials soften the facility's “high-tech” character. For general waiting, smaller residential-scale seating areas were developed. A pediatric waiting area incorporates Inova's “Star Kid” theme to create a colorful “kid-scaled” space.

The design of the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute allows it to fulfill its mission to provide comprehensive cardiovascular care, support, and research in a world-class facility while providing a healing environment that comforts and empowers patients as they receive care and treatment.