Sherman Hospital Architect Process Q and A: How is a patient-centered hospital built?
November 7, 2008
Sherman Hospital architects Katherine Faulkner and Nilay Desmukh have taken the hospital through the planning and construction progress for the past few years. Here are some answers to some of the questions you may have been wondering about.
1. Who were the brains behind the operation?
Started with Boldt Consulting Services, the project manager, who defined what Sherman would apply for during CON (certificate of need):
- 265 beds
- 650,000 sq ft max
- Which departments would be at the new location
- Only allowed a 7% margin of error.
Then SBRA (Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott) were brought on board for the overview and design process.
2. Did the Sherman community contribute?
Sherman put together 34 “multiple user” groups, consisting of hospital leadership, doctors, nurses, staff, and management—the people who use the current hospital and understand how it works, and who would be making use of the replacement hospital.
Each group had a specific focus, and each group was charged with thinking ahead: what would be best for patients at the new hospital? What sort of facility would push Sherman toward their goal of being the best community hospital in the nation?
3. How different is the final version of the hospital from the initial design?
During this planning period, the design went through 21 different conceptual schemes, 2-3 at a time. User groups examined the schemes, and architects listened to their input and made revisions. Also, many changes were made to be sure that the hospital would be able to hit the budget.
4. What were the key features, or guiding principles in the design?
Some important focus areas were:
- A lake that all or most beds would face for a healing environment
- Centers of Excellence – Cancer Center, Heart Center, Emergency Department, etc.
- Design would be convenient for patients and visitors
- All-identical patient rooms for the safety of patients.
- Doctors/nurses know where everything is located in every room because all are the exact same.
- Innovative flow
- Circulates from the atrium, public and staff would be separate, services would enter in back entrance
- Service building would remain out of the way
- Built with the possibility for future growth and expansion
- Internal flexibility so some growth can happen within the building
5. What happened once user groups signed off?
Next was the design development phase, which lasted from January through April 2006. That’s when:
- Finalized architectural equipment and layout
- Built full-scale mockups of the building
- Exterior rendering was drawn
- Landscaping was planned
- Interior palate was created constantly bearing in mind the natural landscape of the area
- Atrium “Tree of Life” was designed to bring natural elements into the building
6. What were the biggest planning challenges?
These 3-4 years have been some of the wildest in terms of construction cost variation, so certainly making revisions due to the unpredictable escalation in construction costs.
7. What are the architect’s favorite features?
The two that stand out would be the geothermal lake and view, as well as the circulation and flow. Regarding circulation, the final building ended up nicely zoned and built for future flexibility. The new building will be efficient to work in, and convenient for patients and staff.
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