Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed December 2004)

Chief administrator: Marshall Heins, Vice-President Construction & Engineering, (713) 448-5090

Firm: WHR Architects, Inc., (713) 665-5665

Design team: Ronda Wang, AIA, Project Manager; Gail Burns, IIDA, Senior Interior Designer; Sylvie Bucci, IIDA, Senior Interior Designer; Lawrence Krupa, AIA, Project Architect; Mitch Wortley, AIA, ACHA, Senior Project Manager

Photography: Jud Haggard

Total building area (sq. ft.): 9,330

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $322

Total construction cost (excluding land): $3,000,000

Signature Suites provide upscale services not typically offered by hospitals. Noncritical-care patients and family members enjoy hotel-like accommodations with concierge services that include arrangements for spa services, sporting or theater tickets, and elegant meals from local restaurants.

Included on the 11-suite patient floor are a business center and library. Each suite has its own technology center where patients can access the Internet, radio stations, television stations, hospital channels, games, and movies. Patients also have access to a private entrance for check-in on the suite floor.

The design was inspired by the original Cullen Pavilion. Custom wood cabinetry, drapery, and custom lounge furniture provide comfort and lushness in each suite. Bathrooms feature granite counters and limestone floors, and include custom cabinetry with concealed plumbing for bedpan washers. Table lamps, wall sconces, and other soft lamps offer subtle lighting accents. The color palette consists of subdued tones.

Although luxurious, this space is designed to withstand daily hospital abuse. The corridor walls are protected with high-impact wall panels. Pile height of the carpet tile was selected to accommodate daily stretcher and rolling cart traffic. The acoustic ceiling tiles were selected for their high noise-reduction coefficient. The millwork in high-abuse areas such as nurses' stations and headwalls received wood-grain plastic laminate. The library and patient suite sitting rooms were designed with medium-figured anigre. The floor base throughout the project resembles milled wood but is in fact an impact-resistant, resilient rubber.