Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies was conceptualized as more of a hotel than a hospital. In a striking composition of dark glass and masonry towers, this unique and signature hospital greets patients and visitors with a sense of flair. The building offers designs not traditionally found in the halls of a hospital, as the main lobby and entrance dramatically demonstrate. When one enters this new facility—housed in a glass globe with a spectacular cable- suspended entry canopy—one realizes this cutting-edge facility was created with more than just medical services considered.

On the inside, the building strives to achieve a level of beauty and function that goes beyond the clinical to communicate a sense of well-being, comfort, and ease. Beginning at the entrance, the calming ambience is set by having the walkway pass through an overhead fountain archway. Cove lighting is used instead of the typical overhead fluorescents. Several nursing stations are lit with fiberoptics, utilizing various color options. Glass is used extensively, providing an abundance of natural lighting. Wayfinding graphics go beyond the typical sterile signage, and rooms have been specifically decorated to deliver a higher sense of privacy for patients and their families. Equipment and medical gases are concealed with retractable artwork or moveable textiles.

Project category: New construction (completed May 2006)

Chief administrator: Kathy Swanson, President, (321) 841-6078

Firm: Jonathan Bailey Associates, (469) 227-3900

Design team: Jonathan D. Bailey, FAIA, RIBA, Conceptual Designer; Wes Garwood, AIA, LEED AP, Project Architect/Project Manager; Catherine J. Everett, Interior Designer (Jonathan Bailey Associates); Mike Sheerin, PE, LEED AP, Principal-in-Charge (TLC); William E. Tipton, Jr., PE, Civil Engineer (Tipton Associates, Inc.); Richard Zinser, PE, Structural Engineer (Zinser/Grossman Structural)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 400,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $278

Total construction cost (excluding land): $111,000,000

To create a functional working space, a vertical design was chosen. This feature offers three main nursing unit towers clustered around a central core and elevator shaft. It is a break from the traditional “racetrack” layouts, which require staff members to cover long distances. On each floor, nursing units radiate from the core in a “cloverleaf pod” arrangement. This improves observation and patient-to-staff proximity. The efficiency of this solution cuts down on hallway space and allows an impressive 78% of the building's total space to be dedicated to actual departmental use.

At the core of this new hospital are its healing environment elements. Because the environment can have a dramatic impact on the road to recovery, this distinctive design incorporates a sense of serenity throughout with the use of soft, calming colors and tones. It provides private rooms with Murphy beds, and because of the spatient-centered flow and functionally centralized nursing stations, patient coverage is improved and a flexible space provided from which to respond to future needs.