West End Orthopaedic Clinic (WEOC) is a full-service facility providing around-the-clock emergency care for Central Virginia. It specializes in minimally invasive joint repair; hip and knee replacement; arthroscopy; pediatric care; hand, neck, and spine care; and physical therapy. Its newest facility, which opened in February 2005, is located on the ground floor of the medical office building (MOB) at the new St. Francis Medical Center campus.

The MOB and hospital shell are connected by an atrium, which took extensive coordination with county officials and the shell architect because of the complex fire/smoke-suppression system required due to positive and negative pressure occurring in the atrium in different fire events.

Since WEOC can be seen from the atrium, the materials chosen for its entry had to be neutral enough to blend into the new hospital's finish scheme but bold enough to draw the eye into the space. Since the colors are fairly neutral in the reception area, different materials such as cork, frosted glass, ambient lighting, carpet insets, and a mixture of fabrics help to add texture and interest. Wood-simulated laminate was used throughout the space to help add warmth. Most of the north wall is windows, providing plenty of natural light. As one proceeds through the space, the colors become more saturated; rich blue, gold, and terra-cotta semicircles fill the exam and x-ray areas to add splashes of bold color and movement. These shapes are carried into the therapy gym, where the flooring serves both to add aesthetic value and mark patient progression.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2005)

Chief administrator: Rhonda S. Coor, Director of Operations, (804) 560-5595

Firm: Hummel Associates, (804) 643-7337

Design team: Cheryl Hummel Palmore, CID, Project Director; Kathryn Pelegrinelli, Senior Designer, Project Manager (Hummel Associates); Alec W. Woolfolk, Vice-President; Mike Lowe, General Foreman (Woolfolk Construction, Inc.)

Photography: ©2005 Lee Brauer Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 11,036

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $90

Total construction cost (excluding land): $990,000

Through close collaboration with the client, the design team was able to produce a space that is both staff- and patient-focused.