At Homestead Hospital, HKS designers were committed to developing a healing, safe environment throughout the entire facility while incorporating the familiar Baptist Health signature look in the South Florida market.
Baptist Health South Florida opened one of the area's most high-end hospitals on May 6, 2007. The 300,000-sq.-ft. Homestead Hospital is built on 60 acres of land located just east of the Florida Turnpike.
The beauty of southern Florida is naturally experienced through large expansive windows in the main rotunda and is brought into the space through daylighting, an oceanic-inspired palette of colors, palm trees and tropical flowers, local artwork, warm wood tones and galleries of open space.
“Homestead Hospital is inspired by the traditional Spanish Colonial architecture prevalent in south Florida and adopted by Baptist Hospital of Miami — the parent healthcare organization,” said Dan Noble, principal designer, HKS, Inc. “Our design expresses that this hospital is a place where state-of-the-art medicine is practiced in a non-intimidating environment. Glass curtain wall detailing, contemporary interior finishes and furnishings, and modern interpretations of traditional design elements help to communicate a feel that is progressive while remaining traditional.”
The full patient experience — from the atrium entry to patient rooms to high-tech clinical areas, like the emergency room and intensive care units, has been conceived to strengthen the concept of healing in a tropical environment. The aesthetic manifestation of this concept was to allow the overall palette to reflect the traditional Spanish Colonial brand of Baptist Health, while the details and nuances of the design speak to a building that is of its time and communicates a sense of leading-edge competence.
In with the new
Leaders at Homestead Hospital, in Homestead, Fla., took providing top-notch healthcare services seriously when developing the hospital. One of the most inviting and safest hospitals in Florida, it replaces the existing Homestead Hospital that opened in 1940.
“We had outgrown the existing hospital,” said Corey Gold, vice president of Homestead Hospital. “We didn't have the structural support to build up or the additional land to build out and the parking was minimal. Our employee space was also limited — due to our growth from 400 to 500 employees.”
The new facility, three times larger than the previous one, broadens healthcare services to the expanding population of South Miami-Dade County. It features all-private patient rooms, an emergency center triple the size of the existing one, additional operating rooms, and more clinical space for outpatient diagnostic services, and minimally invasive surgical procedures.
Homestead is designed to withstand a Category Five hurricane. Given the volatile southern Floridian climate, it was paramount that the building be able to remain fully operational during any catastrophe.
“Located 25 miles south of Miami, the hospital was in the line of the Hurricane Andrew storms that made landfall in 1992,” said Gold. “The hospital wasn't hit and remained operational — but it taught us a valuable lesson about how devastating the storms can be.”
The hospital's unique design creates a hard, protective outer shell and an inner atrium that allows for daylighting and garden views. Its precast walls are concrete panels that are eight inches thick — versus a traditional building skin of five to six inches. Hospital windows are manufactured to withstand 150 mile-per-hour winds, successfully impact tested at a lab with an air cannon that shot a two-inch by four-inch piece of lumber traveling 80 feet per second at the glass. To avoid flooding, the hospital is built 9.5 feet above sea level, about two feet higher than the roads leading to the facility.
In addition to being safe, the hospital is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the area. The main rotunda is designed to complement the building's traditional vernacular and provide a positive experience for guests with its terrazzo flooring, curved walls, wood tones and inspiring natural light.
A circular pattern on the rotunda floor and ceiling mirror each other to provide balance within the space. Circles are repeated throughout the space to indicate points of interest, ranging from the entry rotunda to the waiting areas to the nursing stations.
“Passing through the main rotunda, guests are greeted by a modern, yet warm welcome area, furthering Homestead Hospital's mission of improving and promoting compassionate healthcare,” said Travis Sheets, interior designer, HKS, Inc. “Next to the welcome area are six, wing-walled registration spaces which offers privacy without the intimidating confinement of a closed space. Geometric floor patterns provide intuitive wayfinding from the rotunda, through the central atrium, to the main elevator.”
Soothing colors, natural light, tropical flowers, and large open spaces work to refute the stereotype that hospitals are cold, intimidating, and confusing.
“The main rotunda's grand stair and balconies invites guests to explore the atrium space by foot as an alternative to taking the elevator,” said Sheets. “Artwork, including local photography with a south Florida flair, is located throughout the facility — with the central gallery located on the second floor amongst the tree-lined private waiting areas.”
Continuity and harmony are achieved throughout the hospital — from the main rotunda to acute care patient areas to the intensive care unit. “Familiar, oceanic colors and artwork niches provide an inviting entry to the labor delivery recovery unit,” said Noble. The intensive care unit, with its circular collaboration teaming areas and private family areas, offers the latest in high-tech care in a compassionate, healing environment. Private patient rooms boast natural light, built-in armoires, granite-style work areas, and inspiring artwork.”
Outside, two rows of Royal Palms line the driveway to the main entrance. The 1,400 space parking lot is paved and complemented with Bald Cypress, Gumbo Limbo and Live Oak trees. Walkways and grass lead to a meditation garden, located behind the medical arts building. Tropical plants and reflective lakes complete the campus landscape.
Open for business
“The hospital design is modern,” said Gold. “We wanted it to look like a circa 2007 building versus a 1940s or 1950s structure. Today, when people walk into the hospital atrium, they just stop and stare. The word that I hear the most often is ‘gorgeous.’”
And, people are doing more than just talking. In a quarterly Press Ganey patient satisfaction survey focused on accommodations and comfort for visitors, Homestead Hospital's number went up from the 30 to 90 percentile since the new hospital opened.
Employee satisfaction has also increased. In a recent employee opinion survey released by the Gallup Administration, Homestead Hospital ranked in the top 10 percent of Gallup's national healthcare database in terms of workplace satisfaction.
Hospital admissions are up 21 percent, emergency visits have increased by 31 percent and 40 percent more babies have been born. “This increase in service has far exceeded the expectations of the hospital administrators,” said Gold. “Plans are already underway to discuss a future addition to the hospital.” HBI