How do you design a medical clinic that feels like a day spa? That question was faced by designers charged with renovating the ninth floor of a Virginia Mason medical office building in downtown Seattle to hold the relocated dermatology department (including facial plastic surgery and phototherapy) and Medi Spa, an aesthetic services/ retail store.

Extensive use of light, warm-toned wood, and green-based color give the Center a fresh, natural look while its clean lines and softened curves maintain the feel of a high-end spa. Nature images are featured in materials and artwork. Semitranslucent acrylic panels offer privacy without sacrificing light, and large windows provide ample natural light and showcase the facility's view of the city skyline and Puget Sound.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed June 2004)

Chief administrator: Gary Kaplan, MD, Chairman and CEO, (206) 223-6955

Firm: CollinsWoerman, (206) 245-2100

Design team: Brian Berg, Project Manager, Medical Planner; April Harr, Project Architect; Sarah Reisenauer, Designer; June Mechure, Job Captain (CollinsWoerman); Wendy Garrison, Interior Designer (Garrison Design)

Photography: © Lara Swimmer Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 14,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $129

Total construction cost (excluding land): $1,800,000

Clients are escorted directly to their exam or treatment rooms after check-in, rather than to a waiting room. Should scheduling backups occur, a lobby-like corridor with an art gallery feel provides bay-window seating backed by the Seattle skyline. Entrances to patient areas are enhanced for visitors and staff with specific sequences of light fixtures, carpet insets, and inlaid acrylic door panels. With patient rooms located conveniently adjacent to physicians, nurses, and medical/office assistants, all services come to the visitors.

The Medi Spa is a “facility within a facility” offering professional skin care and massage services as well as the latest products in its retail store. Aestheticians can provide comprehensive care by utilizing in-house physician expertise.