At HEALTHCARE DESIGN.09, I was able to take a tour of the soon-to-open (November 2, 2009), Flad Architects-designed Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. The facility is Phase I of a multi-Phase master plan that will eventually boast seven towers.

The process from master planning to putting patients in beds took over four years to complete. Planning was done on an expedited timetable and was finished in just seven months. The design and construction of the facility was approached as a noncontractual integrated project team.

One of the design drivers for the hospital was to “redefine the architecture of hope,” by taking keys from hospitality design, mixing static and electronic artwork, and focusing on patient-centered care. There was also a significant focus on front of house versus back of house operations, which requires access cards for multiple staff areas. Another way the design team approached this was by separating and dedicating different elevators for visitors, materials, and trauma.

Other notable attributes of the facility include fiber optic data cabinets on every floor, a glassed-in staircase with views to the outdoors, an underground tunnel connecting the new building with the old hospital across the street, and a pneumatic tube system that connects to the old building, while also being planned to connect to future buildings.

Watch a video tour of the facility below: