Project category: New construction (completed March 2005)

Chief administrator: Stephen Sharfstein, MD, President and CEO, (410) 938-3401

Firm: HDR - Alexandria, (703) 518-8530

Design team: Rick Abbott, Healthcare Principal; Jim Thomson, Project Manager (HDR - Alexandria); John Cameron, Senior Project Designer; Jeff Johnson, Urban Planner (HDR - Omaha); Herschel Block, Facility Planning Consultant (HDR - Chicago); Paul Whalen, Exterior Design Architect (Robert A.M. Stern Architects)

Photography: Ron Solomon Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 234,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $239

Total construction cost (excluding land): $56,000,000


Founded more than 115 years ago, Sheppard Pratt Health System faces constantly growing demands for its services today. It is a private, nonprofit, behavioral health organization, providing a full range of services to children and adults.

Phase One of a two-phase project, completed in 2005, was the design and construction of a 234,000-sq.-ft. replacement hospital—a challenging assignment on an extremely limited/constrained site. To meet this challenge, the new facility was placed between two historic structures.

The new facility was designed to enhance both patient privacy and operational efficiencies. It features 192 private acute care psychiatric beds; group activity and dining areas; landscaped exterior courtyards; several nursing areas, inpatient and outpatient pharmacies, and blood labs; outpatient and inpatient electro-convulsive therapy and medical services areas; a gymnasium; and support spaces.

The interior spaces of the new hospital were designed to create welcoming, healing, and functional environments. The design features simple, natural materials and low-key color palettes, natural lighting, and beautiful views from windows.

Several of the existing buildings are national historic landmarks, and many others have been nominated for this status. The toughest design task for this phase was preserving the historical character and detailing of existing buildings while incorporating new technology and modern mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire-protection systems into the structures.

Phase Two is currently under way. Some 270,000 square feet of existing space is undergoing extensive renovation to return respite care and residential treatment care to the facility.