Located on 57 acres in Pensacola, Fla., Baptist Health Care’s new full-scale campus is home to a new 10-story, 268-bed hospital; the six-story, 178,000-square-foot Bear Family Foundation Health Center; and a 72-bed behavioral health unit.

The campus is organized around a park-like town square that includes groves of heritage oak trees and amenities such as walking paths, rehab areas, and healing gardens. The exterior design pays homage to the historical character of Pensacola’s local buildings and celebrates the beach community’s natural surroundings, drawing inspiration from wind-swept sand ripples, shifting clouds, and the way light filters through trees. The precast panels are comprised of white Pensacola sand, warm terracotta accents the public entrances, and large spans of glazing flood the interior with natural light.

The interior of each building takes cues from the exterior design, using handcrafted materials—such as wood, bronze, and terrazzo—to create a warm, welcoming environment. Drawing inspiration from the oaks in the town square, large scale light fixtures reference sunlight streaming through Spanish moss, while planters and full-height windows also bring the outdoors inside.

Transparent and translucent glass reduce patient anxiety at clinical entries, which are denoted by accent lighting and wood ceiling treatments. Views of the town square from public areas connect patients to nature and lightwells bring daylight deep into the hospital building’s core. To further enhance wayfinding, the idea of the horizon was used as the major organizing element for the finish palette and colors subtly shift on each floor.

FIRM: Gresham Smith, greshamsmith.com

DESIGN TEAM: Gresham Smith (architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, civil engineering, structural engineering, landscape architecture); Brasfield & Gorrie (general contractor); Meadows & Ohly (program manager); Smith, Seckman Reid (medical equipment planning, technology design); Inman and Associates (food service consulting)

COMPLETED: September 2023