Project category: New construction (completed December 2002)

Chief administrator: Jay MacFarland, CEO, (985) 873-4633

Firm: Sizeler Architects, (504) 523-6472

Design team: Jose M. Fernandez, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Allen Ohlmeyer, AIA, Project Manager; Gwen Deney, ASID, Interior Designer; Bob Nunez, Quality Control; Thomas Lavelle, Construction Administration

Photography: David Richmond

Total building area (GSF): 22,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $199

Total cost (excluding land): $4,378,000


Terrebonne General Medical Center's new Emergency Department is an example of healing through design—with a Louisiana accent. The Houma, Louisiana, facility was designed when the hospital outgrew its original space. It includes separate Ambulance and Ambulatory entrance canopies; a 28-bed unit; Trauma, Fast-Track, Pediatric; Observation Units; and Counseling Rooms. Terrebonne's ER staff worked closely with the designers, emphasizing the importance of making tranquility, comfort, and efficiency the main design themes.

For tranquility, aquatic blues and greens were used for building materials and furnishings throughout the department. To calmly distract anxious family members in the waiting area, the designers incorporated a mural of an underwater scene, featuring marine life indigenous to the nearby Gulf of Mexico. The scene “moves” with subtly changing colored lighting. Sounds of a fountain and an aquarium for viewing in the pediatric waiting area enhance the desired calming effect.

ER staffers requested colorful artwork throughout the department, along with aromatherapy to negate medicinal odors. Glass-block windows allow natural light to filter through several treatment rooms.

Patient treatment rooms are spacious and comfortable, accommodating the area's typically large families that accompany loved ones. Room designs allow bedside registration, enabling critical patients to get into treatment rooms sooner.

The design of a Fast-Track area, staffed separately from the main Emergency Department, exemplifies efficiency. The design also allows medical staff to respond to situations in the main Emergency Department, should their assistance be required. Trauma, emergent-, and urgent-care patients go directly to treatment and receive immediate care. Treatment rooms are located in view of nurses’ stations.