Project category: New construction & Remodel/Renovation (completed August 2003)

Chief administrator: Thomas E. Beeman, President and CEO, St. Thomas Health Services, (615) 284-6866

Firm: Southeast Venture, LLC, (615) 833-8716

Design team: Paul Plummer, AIA, Principal; Ginny Carnell, IIDA, Director, Interior Design; Brian Edwards, CAD Manager (Southeast Venture, LLC); Michael Peterson, PE, Engineer (Peterson & Associates); Andy Davis, Project Manager (Turner Universal)

Photography: E. Alan McGee

Total building area (sq. ft.): 8,750 (new); 2,450 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $160 (new); $41 (renovation)

Total cost (excluding land): $1,400,000 (new); $100,009 (renovation)

The Maria Nathanson Center of Excellence for Gastrointestinal, Pulmonary and Renal Medicine and Research creates a unique synergy of patient care, education, and research by combining three specialties.

The design team was asked to create a state-of-the-art space designed with attention to detail and patient comfort—from the waiting room to the procedure rooms.

The only raw space left in St. Thomas Hospital was a remote area on the fifth floor, so wayfinding and creating a distinct identity for the Center was crucial. Because the public corridor was incorporated into the design, patients are easily guided to the Center's entrance. Earth tones, a mixture of interesting woods, soft lighting, and a subtle nod to Asian influence create a warm rather than a clinical atmosphere. Curved metal ceilings, indirect lighting, and undulating floor patterns are featured throughout.

The Center is divided into three functional areas. The first is the educational area. Offices for Resource Coordinators and the Library-Conference Room focus on research and patient education, with touch-screen monitors, patient access to the Internet and, in the future, capabilities for videoconferencing and Webcasts.

The recovery area has six beds for hospital inpatients and eight private recovery rooms for outpatients, with toilets. The centrally located nurses’ station provides visual access. Copper-colored glass blocks, warm colors, and subdued lighting create a tranquil atmosphere.

Procedure rooms accommodate the most innovative technology, including capsule endoscopy and minimally invasive vascular procedures. Hand-painted clouds on ceilings and star-shaped lights reiterate the Center's attention to patient well-being.