The Heart Hospital at SwedishAmerican addresses the needs of patients, families, and staff through architecture emblematic of the quality care delivered there. Based on the hospital's care models, nursing units are eight-room pods that significantly reduce walking distances for nurses while improving observation. Each patient room provides space for the family to comfortably remain in the room and offers natural materials, flat-screen televisions, and low window sills to allow patients to see more than sky through their windows.

The nursing pods create the building's architectural form with seams of glass that provide intervening shared public spaces—two are designed as Family Lounges, allowing the family a respite without being far from their loved ones. The western seam is the point of entry from the new South Entrance and is home to the digital, interactive Learning Resource Center. The final seam at the southeast corner protrudes out, proudly displaying the hospital's unique Complementary Therapy program which includes aroma, music, plant, meditation, and possibly pet therapy in the future. These transparent “seams” connect the building occupants to the community and visibly demonstrate that this is a different type of facility, providing a different level of attentiveness to those in need of cardiac services.

Project category: New construction (completed June 2006)

Chief administrator: William Gorski, MD, President and CEO, (815) 968-4400

Firm: Perkins+Will, (617) 406-3433

Design team: Dennis Kaiser, AIA, LEED AP, Managing Principal; Mike Cluff, Associate AIA, LEED AP, Project Manager; Kay Lee, LEED AP, Interior Designer; Norma Williams, AIA, LEED AP, Project Architect (Perkins+Will); Rick Gilson, Engineering Project Manager (KJWW); John Thomsen, Structural Engineer (Simpson Gumpertz & Heger)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 129,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $264

Total construction cost (excluding land): $34,100,000

The new South Entrance and adjacent Healing Garden further express this integration of inside and outside. An inside-outside fountain is symbolic of the high degree of integration among architecture, interior design, and landscape design that is the cornerstone of a truly successful project.