When Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, embarked on the design of a new 147,000-square-foot, seven-story Critical Care Building on its existing campus, there was a commitment to create an environment that focused on patients and their families. To that end, representatives of the Medical Center and its design firm set about learning all they could about patient-centered care and healing hospitality. Representatives of patient-advocacy organizations such as Planetree were invited to speak, and the group toured other hospitals that had successfully incorporated these concepts.

The building's clean, modernist aesthetic provides the backdrop for interior design elements that reinforce Planetree concepts such as wood ceilings and wall panels; earth tones in paints and fabrics; and leafy, organic patterns in carpeting, upholstery, and privacy curtains.

Project category: Addition (completed March 2005)

Chief administrator: Alexander Hatala, Chief Executive Officer, (856) 757-3612

Firm: Francis Cauffman Foley Hoffmann, Architects, Ltd., (215) 568-8250

Design team: James Crispino, AIA, Principal-in-Charge, Principal Planner; Stephen J. Lebowitz, AIA, Principal-in-Charge of Design; Ronald O. Pilgreen, AIA, Project Manager; Dilworth A. Yancey, Project Architect; Donna L. McDaniel, NCIDQ, Project Interior Designer

Photography: ©2005 Don Pearse Photographers, Inc.

Total building area (sq. ft.): 147,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $259

Total construction cost (excluding land): $38,000,000

The new Emergency Department is expected to receive 50,000 visits per year. The soothing sound of water trickling down a glass wall helps to calm patients and family members in the ED waiting room. Stone flooring, wood walls, and a copper-patina ceiling set a theme of natural materials and references to nature found throughout the building.

The two 21-bed Critical Care Units were designed using a decentralized nursing model that allows staff to chart from alcoves directly adjacent to the rooms, with the patients in full view. A central space is shared by staff and residents alike, since this is a teaching institution. The reference to natural materials is continued in the leaf-patterned acrylic panels and wood ceilings and casework. The patient rooms meld high-tech equipment and monitoring devices with natural wood, soothing colors, and comfortable furniture. In contrast to the sterile windowless family waiting rooms previously found in CCUs, these units have family spaces with the warmth and comfort one finds in a good hotel.

The third floor houses a variety of pre- and post-operative services including Cath Recovery, a 6-bed CVU, 15-bed PACU, ASU with three procedure rooms, and a Prep/State II Recovery unit. Patients and staff benefit from the natural light flooding most of the recovery areas. In the elegant family waiting area, leaf-patterned acrylic panels divide the space into intimate seating groupings. Amenities include a resource center, refreshment station, and children's play area.

The 32-bed Med/Surg floor continues to put the comfort of patients and staff first. The sage-green patterned carpet in the corridors helps to reduce noise and reinforce the hospitality approach. Patient rooms contrast maple wardrobes and chair rails with furniture in a natural cherry finish.

The top floor of the building is the new home of the School of Nursing.