Quality healthcare begins at a building’s main entrance before a patient even walks in. The architecture tells a patient about the kind of care they will receive. Yet one of the biggest challenges for healthcare designers is to create a welcoming entrance that inspires trust with patients, visitors and healthcare providers alike.
Here are three points you should consider to project a welcoming community entrance: Confidence
Patients and families often visit healthcare facilities under stressful conditions. A well-designed facility instills confidence the moment a patient arrives—it announces itself through the architecture as a premier institution.

  • At Albert Lea Medical Center for the Mayo Health Systems in southern Minnesota, HGA created a dramatic new stone-and-glass entry rotunda that positions the renovated facility as the regional center for healthcare. Solid materials—stone, wood, metal—lend a sense of permanence.
  • For the M.I.N.D. Institute on the University of California Davis Medical Center campus, we also designed a grand stone entrance rotunda that projects a confidence-building image of permanence as the premier facility for medical investigation of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Familiarity Familiar materials and imagery that reflect the community’s heritage will draw people in and create a stronger sense of a “community” building.

At St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, HGA worked with the client to create a “high-tech hunting lodge” that offered world-class healthcare while reflecting the community’s North Woods heritage, in which the heavy-timber forests and abundant landscape have culturally and economically fueled the town for more than 100 years.
  • The interior layout reminds staff, patients and family members that they are a part of a greater whole—a community.
  • A curving two-story corridor mimics the curving Wisconsin River that winds through town.
  • Heavy-timber beams are redolent of Rhinelander’s history while a wood-burning copper hearth recalls community togetherness around the open fire.
  • Patient rooms overlook a pond and the landscape beyond—where visitors understand home and heart truly lie.

By offering pleasant, soothing distractions, patients and visitors will feel more comfortable in their environment. Again at Albert Lea Medical Center –
  • Rich wood tones, native limestone, and regional textures evoke a sense of comfort as a retail-mall within an entrance corridor offsets the clinical setting.
  • An inviting coffee shop that could easily fit into a downtown setting offers visitors some reprieve from the matters at hand.
  • A grand piano in the nearby commons lends soothing background music and a welcoming gathering space.