Architect: Flad Architects
Owner: UF Health
Contractor: Skanska USA
Combined, the two neighboring hospitals total 520,000 square feet, housing 216 private rooms, 20 state-of-the art operating rooms, and an intensive care unit, along with complementary outpatient facilities.
The new tower ties to the phase one Shands Cancer Hospital by a second-level connector that bridges the new and existing hospitals and frames an inviting gateway into the campus. The building’s site and the larger, now more complete campus creates a central park setting, enhancing the overall experience and creating a peaceful retreat for patients and families to rest and relax outdoors. A dramatic planting design concept of the neuron provides large swaths of color in organic forms that complement the building architecture and exterior materials and creates a welcoming environment at entry points, gathering spaces, and pedestrian routes. Individual nodes, pathways, and furniture throughout the site create a greater circulation network that is reflective of the circulatory system.
The architecture of the new tower continues to build upon and enhance the composition of the entire campus. The use of red brick, architectural precast, metal panel, and glass materials are incorporated in the design of the new tower, but in a style that creates a fresh and modern appearance. The use of more contemporary forms and the addition of warm-colored terra-cotta and gray stone as complementary materials are integrated into the design of the facade, providing richness and diversity to the overall exterior expression of the campus.
The interior design complements the exterior architectural features and materials. High quality, warm colors and materials accent the public spaces and provide the comforting and patient-centered environment needed for specialty cardiovascular and neurological care. The use of expansive windows, rich cherry veneered walls and ceiling, terrazzo flooring, and glass accents all contribute to an interior architectural expression that reinforces the high-technology science and procedures performed within the new facility.
Throughout the building, the focus is on creating a positive user experience with natural light and intuitive wayfinding elements incorporated to ease visitor and employee stress. Major interior elements such as the two-story lobby, open stairs, transparency, and material/color on vertical circulation cores act as landmarks and provide a sense of openness and destination.
The elevator core throughout the building is clad with LED lit, blue-colored porcelain tiles acting as a queue for orientation within the building. Wayfinding is enhanced from the elevators into the corridors on each floor by direct views to the outside and across to the Shands Cancer Hospital.
Tucked away throughout the building are retreat areas for family members to relax alone or with others. The use of windows and full-height openings provide an elevated level of transparency and connection between the interior and exterior environments with focused views toward the campus central park.
The building’s connection to nature and the outdoors is further enhanced by a sweeping outdoor terrace on the third-floor dining that overlooks the park’s water fountain. A pathway garden along the bridge connecting the buildings on campus affords patients, staff, and visitors with outdoor areas for rehabilitation, respite, and dining.
With sustainability and wellness as a focus in the design, the new tower has achieved 4 Green Globes, making it the first hospital in the United States to earn that designation. Notable features include native and adapted landscaping, access to natural daylight, material selection, and lighting design.
Photos: Mark Herboth Photography