MultiCare Health System's Mary Bridge Children's Health Center provides a home for 10 specialty clinics plus laboratory, imaging, and pharmacy services. A gift shop, bistro, conference facility, data center, and Mary Bridge Foundation offices complete the program. Treatment, exam and diagnostic spaces, equipment, and communications are all state-of-the-art.

The new building is connected to the existing Mary Bridge facility at the ground floor and serves as the entrance for both. Floor layouts and site design anticipate future expansion and planned replacement of the older structure. The site is located at the edge of the MultiCare Medical Center campus and is adjacent to Division Avenue, one of Tacoma's most attractive boulevards.

Exterior expression and site design are intended to make the building a good neighbor in the community and an attractive landmark on its campus. The main entrance is prominently positioned on the axis of a gateway street. The curved-glass entry façade frames a turning circle and plaza on the ground floor, providing the geometric theme for the reception and waiting areas inside. This façade is also the support for a large-scale art-glass installation, which animates the exterior and dapples the interior with patterns of color. The banded brick and concrete exterior draws on the vocabulary of other campus buildings and of the existing churches and apartment blocks in the neighborhood. The building is articulated into smaller volumes along Division Avenue, respecting the scale of these nearby structures.

Inside, the Health Center provides an engaging environment for discovery and exploration, supporting Mary Bridge's family-centered concept of care. This attention to design quality is carried throughout all spaces, from lobbies to treatment rooms and staff areas. Natural light is introduced into all parts of the building, especially in the glass-enclosed waiting areas. Also, interior corridors terminate in full-height windows, and exterior rooms have glass doors, bringing ample daylight to inner clinic areas. A nature-based theme organizes the art commissions, signage, patterns, colors, and material selections. This rich sensory environment affords children an imaginary floor-by-floor voyage through the earth's biosphere, from sea floor to sky.

The goal guiding these design efforts was to make coming to the facility a memorable, positive experience and time spent here as delightful and stress-free as possible for children, their families, and the staff who serve them.

Project category: New construction (completed May 2005)

Chief administrator: Mady Murrey, Administrator, (253) 403-1420

Firm: Giffin Bolte Jurgens Architects, (503) 223-0992

Design team: Steve O'Shea, Designer; Herb Giffin, Medical Planner; Kimberly Ritter, Design and Coordination; Gerhard Bamler, Design and Documents (Giffin Bolte Jurgens Architects); MultiCare Interiors, Interior Design (MultiCare Medical Center); Andrea Bainbridge, Interior Design (Bainbridge Design, Inc.)

Photography: Eckert & Eckert

Total building area (sq. ft.): 60,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $250

Total construction cost (excluding land): $15,000,000