2015 Healthcare Design Remodel/Renovation Competition

Printer-friendly version

In conjunction with:

Projects: Women's Health and Emergency/Urgent Care

Sponsored by National Office Products


The 2015 Remodel/Renovation competition has closed.

Our expert panelists, appointed by The Center for Health Design, reviewed dozens of submissions and narrowed them down to the Top 3 in the following categories: Women's Health and Emergency/Urgent Care. See projects posted below. One submission within each category took top honors as Best in Category.

The top 3 projects in each category, including the Best in Category, will be showcased in our December 2015 issue, and hosted online. Best in Category winners will be recognized at a special luncheon held at the Healthcare Design Conference and Expo.

There was a $150 entry fee per submission. There are no publication fees for the published projects. All Healthcare Design readers were eligible to participate.

For questions, or more information, please contact Donna Paglia at 216.373.1210 or donna.paglia@emeraldexpo.com


Thank you for taking part in our annual Remodel-Renovation competition voting. All projects were reviewed by a jury of industry professionals and have been narrowed down to these projects.


Women's Health:


#1.  Children’s Health FETAL CENTER [Dallas]

Submitted by: Gensler [Houston]

Cost/sq ft.: Unavailable

Photography: Whitney Fuessel (before); Slyworks Photography; Ryan Gobuty (after)




Children’s Health recaptured precious space on its main campus to accommodate a progressive new FETAL Center concept that serves three institutions within the alliance.  A complete remodel and renovation of what had been front office space to open a dedicated entrance and create an inviting environment to this new service required a fresh look at the challenges.

The objectives were set early: create a place where patients feel safe, comfortable, relaxed and welcome; gracefully accommodate physicians from all over the country virtually and/or physically; support it as a distinct service offering with a direct link into the hospital; and comply with hospital construction regulations.

This new model posed unique challenges across operations and facilities: building the model of services that accommodated three institutions took more than a year; and doctors, hospital administration, and facilities teams had to agree on location and impact. To accomplish this, Children’s Health offered space at the front of the hospital, other hospital functions were relocated on the campus, and a workable financial model was built.

Building consensus for the Center was a challenge met in the design thinking process.  This iterative process engaged partners, staff, and other stakeholders in a course of discovery, decision making, and commitment.  Planners and designers focused on fresh approaches to old problems and compelled decision makers to look at issues with new lenses.  Rarely did the solutions go outside the boundaries of proven protocols, but those that did, changed the Center’s position among its colleagues and community. Design led by a world-class hotel designer changed the conversation to focus on the patient experience. Features like connected touchdown spaces for doctors and a robust tele-med suite for consulting, stretched the bandwidth for technology. These challenges were met by engaging subject matter expertise in health care, hospitality and IT.

The hospital also had to deal with infrastructure challenges to make this Center work. Creating a new public access “front door” for FETAL center patients meant restructuring the hospital’s greeting and check-in processes.  Planning the movement of patients from the Center to the hospital through a former service corridor meant upgrading mechanical systems, creating an appealing transition space, and training staff.

Staff, medical leadership, facilities management and IT worked hand-in-hand with the design and construction teams to shape a new experience for mothers and their families. The first patient admired the way this “did not remind them of a hospital” and the staff enjoy comfortable, direct access to patients supported by the space. Responses across the user groups concur that smart health care design combined with hospitality experiential aesthetics created a soothing, healthful and technologically advanced place centered on fetal care.




#2 Rush Primary Care – Lakeview [Chicago]

Submitted by: Eckenhoff Saunders Architects [Chicago]

Cost/sq ft.: $120

Photography: © Mariusz Mizera Photography (after)





In creating this 5,000 square foot Women’s Primary Care clinic, located in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, efforts were made to develop a model or prototype that could be implemented through-out the clients growing network. 

The planning of the space – as a model for others- was developed to be adaptable with respect to varying demographics, different environments, future technology, flexibility, retaining/attracting staff & physicians and increasing patient population. 

Several concise goals were determined at project onset:

  • The client’s brand identity had to be integrated in an enhanced environment
  • There had to be an efficient work and patient flow
  • An economical budget and aggressive implementation schedule had to be met.

Providing an environment that is welcoming, nurturing and relaxing was achieved by taking advantage of the buildings existing architecture and then complimenting with fresh materials.   The rich characteristics of the vintage building’s heavy timber construction become a feature in the reception and waiting area, as well as, the core space.  We retained much of the existing windows for natural light and diffused it for patient privacy.  We were able to locate the shared physician offices and the staff break room along elevations that also provided natural light and took advantage of the exposed brick in these areas–adding texture and giving nod to the buildings history.   The design of the staff spaces was given as much attention as the patient space . . . as these areas are utilized for both work time and as places for respite.   The reception and waiting are the first impression of the patient experience.  Implementing a “living-room”-like seating arrangement, providing soft decorative lighting and including vibrant artwork all lent to the calming, nurturing, hospitality aesthetic that were important to the client and threaded through-out the clinic. Incorporating the owner’s brand identity was successful by implementing materials, furniture and technology through-out that included their brand colors and reflected who they were as an organization:   modern, progressive and humanistic.  

Providing a work flow that is efficient and flexible was critical.  Understanding hours of operation, staffing and methodologies that would remain, change and/or plan for in the future were all integrated.   The overall plan was designed based on a more condensed core – consisting of work stations and prep areas.   This provided the staff to be in close proximity to both support spaces and the exam rooms.

Since the project needed to be initiated in a short period of time and with an economical budget, care was designed into the space focusing on economical construction that can be repeated in this project and future projects.  Details and material selections were clean, durable, economical and immediately available.  Architectural/specialty finish features were limited to key locations and focal points.

Post-occupancy follow-up has proved successful for the patient and staff experience.  Work flow has been extremely efficient, patient satisfaction has been nothing but positive and the project was delivered on budget and in time.


#3. Park Nicollet Family Birth Center [St. Louis Park, Minn.]

Submitted by: AECOM [Minneapolis]

Cost/sq ft.: $188

Photography: AECOM/Christine Hester Devens (before); AECOM/Robb Williamson (after)




A Family Birth Center for a New Generation

Providing an exceptional experience for delivering mothers and their families is the focus at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital’s Family Birth Center.  2014 marked the completion of a two-year a renovation that transformed the existing 50-year-old facility. The resulting design supports a comforting and healing environment that is reflective of the care patients receive.

Using collaborative LEAN workshops, market research and feedback from former patients, Park Nicollet identified what mattered most to delivering mothers and their families. The result is a 40,000-squarefoot Birth Center with hotel-style Labor, Delivery and Recovery Suites, complete with the most water birthing tubs in the state. All of the suites, as well as the antepartum, postpartum and Special Care Nursery spaces, have a spa-like feel to reinforce a calming and healing environment.

Additional amenities that support family members and guests include a Family Lounge, a café with refreshments and a Concierge Station to assist with patient and guest s requests.

During the five phases of construction, Park Nicollet used innovative and proactive approaches to optimize the patient experience. Throughout construction patients were given a welcome kit that explained the renovation project and offered natural solutions to help them stay comfortable despite the noise, including aromatherapy patches and vouchers for complimentary care therapies. Patient experience scores remained high throughout the project, and have continued to grow since its completion.

Since opening the new Family Birth Center, patient feedback and business metrics affirm that the renovation project supports Park Nicollet’s vision: to create a comfortable, state of the art birth center that reflects what matters most to today’s moms and families.

Project highlights:

  • Optimized first impression: Welcome Lounge and multifunctional presentation space with refreshments
  • Serpentine entry experience with soothing nature art and a Concierge Station
  • Spa-like design: uncluttered, modern environment with carefully integrated technology and comforting amenities
  • Supportive family spaces: lounge with fireplace, café
  • Comfortable, private Triage rooms
  • Spacious LDR suites with water birth and hydrotherapy options (including walk-in rain showers)
  • Antepartum rooms with LDR capability for flexibility
  • Former LDRs refreshed for family-friendly postpartum suites
  • Privacy enhanced through decentralized charting stations and family sitting areas
  • Private Special Care Nursery rooms with comfortable family zone
  • Design solutions that creatively navigate challenging existing conditions: scope spans three buildings of different eras (1950’s, 70’s and 90’s) with tight floor-to-floor heights, varying window and column locations.
  • “Ribbons of light” create soft, indirect illumination despite minimal ceiling clearances


Emergency/Urgent Care:


#1.  Legacy Emanuel Adult Services [Portland, Ore.]

Submitted by: ZGF Architects LLP [Portland, Ore.]

Cost/sq ft.: $288

Photography: ZGF Architects LLP (before); © Eckert & Eckert (after)




In order to support an expanding need for adult emergency care services, Legacy Health embarked on a significant remodel of its Emergency Department (ED).  As a Level One Trauma Center, the ED at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center campus sees a wide range of patients with urgent medical problems ranging from Trauma and Emergency Care to Behavioral Health and Urgent Care services.

Based on research, guiding principles were developed at the onset of the project to establish goals that would guide the design process.  Some of these were clinical and operational goals such as improving patient safety, improving efficiency and patient flow, decreasing length of stay and increasing volumes, while others were focused on the care experience for patients, families and staff from arrival through discharge.

User meetings were held in a mock-up space in a vacant shelled space in one of the medical office buildings on campus. Planning activities began with shadowing events where the design team shadowed staff and patient flows to understand current state space and activities in the ED.  Integrated care teams were engaged in the design process, first with puzzle piece exercises to explore alternate layouts for the ED, then with mock-ups to test room sizes and configurations. Simulations were conducted to test specific clinical scenarios to confirm the design of each of the patient room types.

The final design accomplished both operational and experiential goals.  Patients are greeted at an open, welcoming reception desk, faced with repurposed, natural wood.  The waiting room is filled with daylight and enjoys garden views which provide a calming connection to nature. It has been subdivided to provide privacy and choice for waiting patients and families. This is in sharp contrast to the previous patient arrival experience where check-in was impersonally conducted through a small opening in the window of a glass-enclosed desk, and the waiting room was windowless and uncomfortably crowded.

The department is organized so that each treatment zone flows directly into the next, allowing the department to expand and contract with daily and seasonal volumes. Private patient rooms are right-sized to provide space for families and functional flexibility, and standardized for maximum efficiency. Exam rooms are oriented to be in the line of sight from care team work areas. Radiographic and CT Scanner procedure rooms are provided within the department.  Supply and support spaces have been decentralized to reduce travel time and distances.

The ED is a stress-filled environment and staff respite space can provide a much-needed place to relax and rejuvenate.  The staff lounge was given priority perimeter space so it would provide daylight and views for the staff.  This amenity provides respite as well as safety, as fatigue can lead to medical errors, and respite, and daylight and views to nature relieve stress and fatigue.  With a strong base of clinical research and evidence-based design principles, the new Emergency Department at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center provides a thoughtful, healing and much improved healthcare experience for patients, families and staff.


#2. Golden Gate Urgent Care Clinics [San Francisco]

Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR [San Francisco]

Cost/sq ft.: $230

Photography: Richard Kirr, SmithGroupJJR (before); Sharon Risedorph (after)






The Golden Gate Urgent Care Clinics was founded in late 2011. The business plan was to locate the clinics in high-trafficked but small commercial districts throughout the city of San Francisco. Services offered at the clinics include adult injury and illness urgent care, pediatric care, as well as routine care such as vaccinations and physicals and more advanced technology including EKGs, digital x-rays, and an on-site lab.

The current urgent care clinics vary in size and are designed to not only convey a robust image of the brand, but also to mirror some of the culture and whimsy of the neighborhoods in which they serve. The design goal was to develop an interior design that was strong, unique and memorable. It had to reflect the message that this was a different kind of healthcare provider. It had to be simple to build out, inexpensive, and adaptable to a variety of spaces. A strong street presence was a must.

The design solution relies strongly on color. The keynote color is inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge, and typically occurs on a curved, accent lit wall—what we have come to call their “signature wall”. Supporting colors were inspired by the ocean and the sun. The envelope and most surfaces are white, providing a clean and simple backdrop to the colors. The unexpected inclusion of embossed stainless steel at the reception desks adds sparkle and a hint of the impressive technology within the clinic proper.

Planning is done to maximize the penetration of sunlight into the space. Primary lighting in the clinical spaces is indirect. Accent lighting occurs in the lobby at the reception desk, providing the staff with an abundant, yet comfortable level of lighting, and at the signature wall, bringing a calming light to those waiting for care. The combination of these carefully thought out features results in a warm, comfortable space for patients and staff.

Furniture selection is modern and highly functional. A unique element occurs in the waiting room, where an armless banquette embraces the signature orange wall. The combination of these two elements is a major branding element. Additional seating is located in discreet groupings about the lobby.

The clinics have been welcome additions to their neighborhoods and additional locations are being planned. The original design elements have been successfully adapted to each location, resulting in a consistent, highly recognizable branding for each location. The client has received rave reviews about the design from patients. Among the most frequent comments is that the clinics are so clean, and visually unlike any other medical facility.


#3. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Emergency Department Expansion [Los Angeles]

Submitted by: HMC Architects [Ontario, Calif.]

Cost/sq ft.: $474

Photography: David Wakely (after images)




Renovating and expanding an emergency department within a licensed, functioning hospital is always very difficult. Cedars-Sinai had the usual challenges of high volume, inefficient flows and long wait times. In solving those problems, our design team took the challenge one step further. We collaborated closely with our client and specialists in acoustics and lighting to explore improvements to the care environment that go beyond typical emergency department project requirements with the ultimate goal of improving the patient experience.

Our task was to provide several additional treatment bays, and renovate and expand nurse stations significantly, all while remaining operational in a very tightly constrained footprint. While solving the functional problems within a phased construction sequence, we also engaged in design charrettes to evaluate costs/benefits and to prioritize design options arising from our observations, literature research, environmental audits of existing acoustical and lighting conditions, and computer modeling of light and sound distribution. As a result of our evidence-based design approach, we incorporated changes to the ceiling plane and materiality to minimize the distribution of noise from the clinical workstation. A series of custom designed acoustical fins prevent certain wavelengths of sound from traveling down the long axis of the nurses’ station. A multilevel lighting system provides illumination that is both more comfortable for patients and staff and supportive of urgent and complex medical care.

The emergency department project followed an aggressive schedule to coincide with the completion of an adjacent cancer center project. This 8,220-SF expansion to the existing emergency department includes ten new beds, a nurse station, and administration spaces that include an educational classroom and offices.