My last blog about multi-denominational healthcare worship spaces had me thinking about specific design experiences. I am always inspired by how invested community members are in the design process. Healthcare facilities and hospitals are truly community buildings that reflect a town’s aspirations and regional attributes.

A recent example is the Orange City Hospital and Clinic (OCHC), a replacement facility in Iowa. Although a municipal hospital, OCHC serves a Christian community in which their Dutch heritage and traditional spiritual values are part of daily life.

HGA colleague Amy Douma, LEED AP, who worked with OCHC, told me that the client focused on the community experience throughout the design process. "They know their patients personally, so every step along the way they asked questions about how people would feel,” Amy said.

This community investment influenced the design outcome in key areas. Here are several ways HGA worked with Orange City: Include many Stakeholders
The hospital administration engaged stakeholders and community members, who raised $5 million in donations and passed a bonding bill by more than 85 percent. Even the local gas station helped the fund-raising efforts by donating portions of its proceeds. This investment gave everyone a sense of involvement.

Seek Features and Attributes Unique to each Community
When approaching your design, interpret the community’s history and heritage. In Orange City, the connection to history in the rural landscape is reflected in the hospital’s use of natural materials throughout, interior sunlight, and outdoor landscaping visible from the interior.
Design for Faiths The community’s sense of emotion and spirituality is evident in the cylinder-shaped chapel. Walls spiral upward toward a skylight to create a powerful yet inclusive spiritual statement—designed for a specific faith yet broad enough for all faiths. It reminds us that the healthcare healing process is also about attending emotional and spiritual needs