Under the umbrella of Birmingham’s St. Vincent’s Hospital, One Nineteen Health and Wellness Center introduces an all-encompassing healthcare approach. The center houses the region’s only integrated medical and holistic healthy-lifestyle program, promoting well-being through education, fitness, diagnostic services, and related programs.

The 154,645-sq.-ft. center provides services both to diagnostic patients and individual members, who may join for the well-rounded program and skilled staff. Five programs available are diagnostics, rehabilitation, wellness, fitness, and spa services.

During a nine-month process, the project team and St. Vincent’s Hospital committees examined benefits that a wellness and fitness center would provide. Findings showed that integrating wellness with healthcare supports long-term preventive care.

One of the project’s most difficult design challenges was functional adjacencies. For example, the locker area needed to simultaneously serve the spa, fitness area, pool, and rehabilitation. Additionally, fitness and rehabilitation programs use the same equipment, and one registration desk serves both of these departments. Multifunctioning reduced square footage and redundancy, allowing sharing of staff. Direct connections from each area permit fitness members and patients to utilize the entire facility.

For simplified wayfinding, a curved corridor leads guests to the spa and fitness areas to the left and rehab and diagnostic services to the right. Entering guests can also see the fitness area through glass behind the reception area.

The 15,000-square-foot rehabilitation and fitness area is highlighted by a cardio theater equipped with 28 flat-screen LCD monitors mounted on a circular stair leading to the track. Surrounding the cardio theater are exercise equipment, free weights, exercise studios, and a gym. Also available are a six-lane lap pool, therapy pool, and whirlpool. Day-spa facilities include 11 treatment rooms, nail care, and a private suite for body-treatment therapy. A private medi-suite entrance is provided for guests with sensitive medical needs. A library/lounge, a juice bar, and an education room with demonstration kitchen complete the program.

The center’s diagnostic component offers the latest state-of-the-art imaging services. Breaking the traditional clinical stereotypes and providing a unified collection of services were essential.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2005)

Chief administrator: Curtis C. James, President and CEO, (205) 939-7791

Firm: Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., (615) 329-9445

Design team: Ronald M. Lustig, AIA, ISHC, Principal-in-Charge (Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.); Tom Malloy, MEP Engineer (Phoenix Design Group); Mark A. Smith, Civil Engineer (Paul B. Krebs & Associates, Inc.); Glen Bishop, PE, Structural Engineer (LBYD, Inc.); Michael Schor, Construction Manager (Brasfield & Gorrie)

Photography: Scott McDonald, © Hedrich Blessing

Total building area (sq. ft.): 154,645

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $173

Total construction cost (excluding land): $26,828,330

Supporting this unification, architectural forms play against one another to express the functions within. Stone fin elements, brick forms, and diaphanous glass walls combine to infuse the healing power of natural light while displaying the natural setting. Parking medians with bio-swales incorporate rocks and plantings that thrive in wet conditions to filter water runoff before soaking into the ground. The center’s design, in essence, conveys wellness, as does its respect for the site.