Project category: New construction (completed March 2005)

Chief administrator/CEO: Leah A. Carpenter

Firm: Gresham, Smith and Partners, (954) 981-9100

Design team: Edward L. Hengtgen, AIA, NCARB, Principal-in-Charge; Luis J. Cano, Project Manager; Mindy Graves, IIDA, Interior Design Project Manager

Photography: Joseph Lapeyra Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 249,900

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $204

Total construction cost (excluding land): $51,000,000

Memorial Hospital Miramar is a new 128-bed facility for the Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) in South Florida. Following the state's awarding of additional beds to the healthcare system, MHS chose to develop a new community-based center of healing so that the hospital could better serve the western region of the county and offer a site where local residents can come for all their healthcare needs, as well as community events. The addition of this hospital to the county alleviates overcrowded conditions at nearby Memorial Hospital West.

The hospital was designed to resemble a hotel to create a warm, inviting feel that breaks hospital stereotypes. The Mediterranean vernacular of the community has been reinforced in the design and details of both the exterior and interior and takes advantage of the lush exterior landscaping with views to the outside wherever possible.

This idea is most apparent in the pediatric emergency department, where the design team wanted to create an adventure for patients. The “Discovery Adventure” begins as the patients enter the waiting room, where a large pirate ship, built at child-size scale, invites them to play. The floor resembles an ocean full of mermaids and dolphins. Hallways have a treasure map on the floor and friendly pirate murals on the walls, which double as wayfinding devices.

Other parts of the hospital's interior include features such as wallpaper, crown molding, and wood-imitating sheet vinyl floors in the patient rooms, giving them a resort-style feel.

Strong blue accents were used both on the exterior and interior—including blue tiles throughout, accents of blue mosaic glass tile in elevator lobbies and nurses' stations, and blue lenses in lighting—to brand the facility.

Along the main corridor, the arcade of wood panels mirrors the arcade of windows on the exterior side, creating a feeling of openness along the pedestrian walkway. Benches were placed in niches to invite people to sit and enjoy the abundant views to the exterior. Most of the light is natural through windows. The exterior trellis beams have been brought inside and house indirect light fixtures. These, along with square sconces with blue lenses, create a warm and inviting walkway. The corridor feels more like that of a museum gallery or high-end hotel than a hospital.

An array of the latest healthcare technology makes the hospital nearly paperless. The facility promises to be among the most technologically advanced in South Florida.