The new 139-bed Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, an affiliate of The National Planetree Alliance, lies at the heart of a 120-acre wellness campus in Williamsburg, Virginia. Careful consideration was given to fully integrating its 10 patient-centered components into the functional planning and aesthetic design process. Additionally, designers were challenged to incorporate these healing amenities while meeting budget constraints for the 339,000-sq.-ft. replacement hospital.

Equal emphasis was placed on advanced technologies and designs that embrace the human desire for aesthetics, art, comfort, and warmth. Patients, families, and staff are provided with spaces for solitary and social activities, including libraries, kitchens, lounges, activity rooms, and chapels. Healing amenities—gardens, fountains, aquariums, artwork, and waterfalls—connect patients, families, and staff with the relaxing, invigorating, and healing aspects of nature. Patient, staff, and materials movements are carefully orchestrated in corridors and elevators, separate from public circulation. All patient rooms are private and sized to allow visitors to stay comfortably. Small computer and supply stations are carved out between each pair of rooms, providing staff with full access and views to patient rooms.

Project category: New construction (completed August 2006)

Chief administrator: Robert L. Graves, Vice-President & Administrator, (757) 259-6000

Firm: HDR Architecture, Inc., (402) 399-1000

Design team: Sheila Elijah, Senior Project Designer; Craig Ellis, Project Manager; Chris Barnwell, Senior Project Designer; Bob Holm, Senior Interior Designer; Mary McCawley, Project Landscape Architect; Neil Sutton, Project Architect

Photography: ©

Total building area (sq. ft.): 339,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $225

Total construction cost (excluding land): $76,300,000

Distinctive design elements include a towering water sculpture whose warm metal planes pull attention upward into a light-infused rotunda. A sky-lit lobby filled with live piano music leads visitors to a grand glass stairway and elevator. Large and light-filled waiting spaces with expansive outdoor views accommodate comfortable furniture groupings to encourage meditative activities, child’s play, visiting, and education.