Project category: New construction (completed September 2003)

Chief administrator: James E. Haden, President and CEO, (434) 982-7300

Firm: Kahler Slater Architects, (414) 272-2000

Design team: James G. Rasche, AIA, ACHA, Project Executive, Interior Design; Jennifer Schlimgen, AIA, Principal-in-Charge, Healing Experiences Designer, Interior Design; Jessica Steeber, ASID, Lead Interior Designer; Katy Frey, ASID, Interior Designer (Kahler Slater Architects); Alan Shettig, Project Manager (Freeman White, Architect of Record)

Photography: © Hedrich Blessing

Total building area (sq. ft.): 97,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not released

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not released

The Outpatient Care Center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia, was designed to support the client's vision of a healthcare experience that is personalized and truly distinctive in terms of healing, comfort, and beauty.

The center reflects the rich heritage of the 100-year-old hospital while looking to the future with innovative services and amenities, all on a beautiful site in the shadow of Thomas Jefferson's world-renowned estate, Monticello.

The essence of the project was centered on creating an environment that delivers clinical excellence and the optimal healthcare experience. To achieve this desired result, the design team invited owners, patients, families, visitors, physicians, staff, and community members to participate in a highly collaborative process. Activities included visioning, on-site workshops, hospitality reviews, and collaborative surveys. Throughout all these activities, the desired guest experience was distilled so the design team could move forward and achieve the project goals.

“The design team helped us to create an inspiring interior design that promotes the well-being and comfort of our patients, visitors, and staff,” says James E. Haden, president and CEO of Martha Jefferson Hospital. “We perceived from the outset that we had an unprecedented opportunity to be innovative in the delivery of healthcare. The design team understands the effect of design on the individual, especially in a healthcare setting where stress and anxiety are typical responses. Their work reflects our common belief that when individuals feel most vulnerable is when they are in the greatest need of personal care and a sense of security and privacy. We are very pleased with the results we have achieved through our collaborative efforts.”

Welcoming porches on either side of the main doors serve as a symbolic reminder to patients and visitors of the hospital's long-standing tradition of hospitality. Lobby features and carefully chosen artwork reflect the local heritage and the hospital's history. Colors are bright and whimsical, promoting a carefree and calm environment. Arched ceilings and interior nature themes connect to the beautiful views of the site, intimate gardens, and gathering terrace. Thoughtful amenities throughout the space include The Market at Peter Jefferson Place (café), a women's resource library, and a garden.

Positive distractions are found throughout the center in the most personal of settings—exam, procedure, and recovery areas. They include art, natural slate walls, leaf mobiles, decorative painting, and handcrafted leaf tiles, all of which add to an environment that is inviting, comfortable, colorful, and memorable.