Located on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in one of America’s snowiest cities, the new Marquette General Hospital replaces an aging facility. Working with Duke LifePoint Healthcare, Gresham Smith delivered a 565,000-square-foot, 229-bed hospital and 90,000-square-foot medical office building that look to the future while honoring the Marquette community’s historic past.

Located at the centermost point of downtown Marquette, the building’s form is strategically designed to maximize views, as offset patient tower wings create breathtaking sights of Lake Superior, downtown and the historic Ore Dock. The team also considered energy consumption, orienting the hospital’s major departments east to west to protect patient rooms from the setting sun’s glare, and adding extra glazing on the south side of the building to harvest late afternoon sunlight. Additionally, the building is rotated to prevent snow drifts in high-traffic areas.

The design team drew from the region’s color palette to integrate the building into the natural environment. The exterior pattern echoes the repetition and color of birch trees, the building’s form channels the lake and the bricks contain reflective flakes of iron ore.

Inside, the hospital’s two-story main concourse is bookended by two entrances—the ceremonial front door and the very necessary parking garage entrance for harsh winter weather. The project team kept adaptability and flexibility in mind when designing the new facility, sizing testing and exam rooms to operate as overflow for the adjacent emergency department, and designing surgery preparation and recovery spaces to flex as demand shifts in the nearby PACU.

Project category: New construction

Chief administrator: Gar Atchison, CEO

Firm: Gresham Smith, www.greshamsmith.com

Design team: Gresham Smith (architecture, interior design, structural engineering, graphics and wayfinding); Envision Advantage (MEP engineering); Littlejohn Engineering (civil engineering, landscape architecture); Skanska-Closner (general contractor)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 525,000 (hospital); 90,000 medical office building and parking structure

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $356

Total construction cost (excluding land): $330 million

Completed: June 2019