The 152,000-sq.-ft. St. Joseph Outpatient Center in Tacoma, Washington, is the Franciscan Health Systems' (FHS) newest outpatient facility, consolidating many outpatient services under one roof. It is designed to create a positive experience for patients and a supportive atmosphere for physicians and caregivers. Clear wayfinding, a warm and comfortable ambience, and convenient location of services provide a healing environment for patients. Energizing workplaces, operational efficiency, and state-of-the-art technology help reduce the stress and errors of caregivers.

With its transparent glass entrance and canopies, the exterior design offers a welcome departure from the typical stark, clinical look in favor of unfettered natural light and views to the outdoors. The most striking feature upon entry is the staircase connecting the surgery and endoscopy floors.

Light colors, dramatic shapes, texture, and attention-grabbing details in the public spaces create visual excitement and positive distractions. In contrast, the clinic areas are quiet and intimate with darker, richer colors, maple and cherry wood, and soft surfaces. Staff space is given the same inviting treatment and designed with such principles as flexible work space and user control to accommodate differing work styles throughout the day.

Callison and FHS collaborated to incorporate the tenets of evidence-based design to clarify the specific goals and expectations of each user group and use these goals as a tool to constantly evaluate programming, planning, design, documentation, and construction.

Project category: New construction (completed June 2004)

Chief administrator: Joe Wilczek, Chief Executive Officer, (253) 426-4101

Firm: Callison Architecture, Inc., (206) 623-4646

Design team: Project Team, Callison Architecture, Inc.

Photography: Chris Eden, Callison Architecture, Inc.

Total building area (sq. ft.): 152,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $138

Total construction cost (excluding land): $21,000,000