As part of an overall campus expansion and update, a new nine-story patient care tower was designed to integrate with the existing one-story, 1970s vintage hospital and a 1980s four-story addition. The Heart and Vascular Institute was planned to occupy 90,000 square feet on three floors of the new hospital tower and has become a Center of Excellence for the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. The schedule was 16 months from design to finish.

The client is a large, not-for-profit medical system that is focused on quality patient care and state-of-the-art technologies.

The most important goal of the team was to create a highly efficient healthcare facility that would stimulate patients' recovery and improve employees' quality of life. The project's success is due to the high level of involvement of the team and the client.

The design incorporates 65 typical patient rooms on level seven and half of level eight. Diagnostic labs are located on level eight. The ninth floor has five interventional catheterization labs and the associated recovery services.

Close attention was paid to space and operational efficiency, circulation, and staff communication by reducing clutter characteristic of healthcare environments and concealing equipment and medical devices in millwork. The institutional look was softened by the selection of finishes not typically used in hospitals: Italian ceramic tile, granite, art glass, furniture, and custom light fixtures.

The newly completed facility is the first Center of Excellence located at the Texas Medical Center.

Project category: New construction (completed July 2005)

Chief administrator: Cheryl McNeil, Administrative Director, (713) 242-3000

Firm: Morris Architects, (713) 622-1180

Design team: David Asaud, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Theodora Batchvarova, LEED AP, Designer (Morris Architects); Paul Phillips, MEP Project Manager (Carter & Burgess Inc.); Louise Nicholson Carter, Interiors Consultant (Carter Design Associates); Chad Clark, Project Manager (Tellepsen); Julie Moore, Equipment Specialist (GKL Health Service)

Photography: © Rick Gardner Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 90,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $133

Total construction cost (excluding land): $12,010,008