Project category: New construction (completed November 2003)

Chief administrator: Terri Kane, Chief Administrator, (435) 688-4104

Firm: Anshen+Allen, (415) 882-9500

Design team: Roger Swanson, Principal-in-Charge; Gary Marshall, Principal-in-Charge; Jerzy Wollak, Project Designer; Lynn Befu, Senior Interior Architect (Anshen + Allen); Todd Tierney, Project Manager (Anshen + Allen + Rothman); Eric Meub, Senior Designer (formerly with Anshen + Allen)

Photography: David Wakely

Total building area (sq. ft.): 420,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $155

Total construction cost (excluding land): $65,000,000

The River Road Intermountain Health project marks the first step in creating a replacement medical center on a new 65-acre site in rapidly growing St. George, Utah. The first phase is a facility that consists of a three-story diagnostic and treatment wing, a five-story inpatient tower with 132 beds, and a four-story physicians' office building. Comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services improve regional patient care in southwestern Utah.

Because the facility is located in a desert setting near Zion National Park, heat gain was a major design consideration. Building orientation, fenestration, and exterior-envelope sunshading addressed these concerns. A major circulation spine, naturally lit from above and inspired by Zion's slot canyons, introduces natural light through skylights deep into the building's interior on multiple levels. The spine enhances visitor orientation and clarifies wayfinding.

Lessons from evidence-based design suggest that an orientation to the family improves patient outcomes. All rooms are single- occupancy and feature pullout sofas where family members can sleep overnight. Waiting alcoves provide privacy for family members to have discussions with caregivers. Views to the surrounding desert, Xeriscape gardens of indigenous plants, and water features surround the facility and offer places for respite and contemplation.

A central concourse links the buildings and provides distinct entrances for major services such as surgery, cardiology, and imaging. Location of these services adjacent to each other encourages caregiver collaboration and increases patient accessibility.