FINALIST – 2019 Healthcare Design Showcase

The 957,705-square-foot Paula and Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter III Tower recently opened for patient services on the Houston Methodist campus in the Texas Medical Center (TMC). The 22-story tower—with capacity for 366 private, inpatient beds—connects to existing, adjacent buildings on multiple levels to allow for integration of care and operations between buildings. The Walter Tower is an integral piece of the Campus Master Plan that replaces patient beds in Houston Methodist Hospital’s Main Building and expands and advances the Hospital’s neurosurgical and cardiovascular surgical capabilities at its flagship campus in the TMC. The tower is home to the nationally-ranked Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and Houston Methodist Neurological Institute, which is designed to transform clinical care for the future and serves as the new standard for similar facilities around the country.

The heart of the hospital is its sophisticated neurosurgery and cardiovascular surgical suites specially designed for highly technical and minimally invasive image-guided heart and brain procedures. They are among the most technologically advanced operating rooms to be found anywhere. Additionally, it has two intensive care and six acute care floors, as well as a helipad, to increase the speed at which patients in need receive life-saving treatments. Four hybrid operating rooms combine robotic-assisted technology with imaging capabilities during surgery.

Speed-to-market was critical because the hospital set an ambitious goal of completing the nearly one million-square-foot project in four and a half years. A collaborative design process and innovative construction methodologies ensured a successful project.

Project category: New construction

Chief administrator: Sidney J. Sanders, senior vice president for construction, facilities design & real estate, Houston Methodist

Firms: EYP,; AECOM Hunt,; AEI,

Design team: EYP Architecture & Engineering (architect and interior designer); AECOM Hunt (general contractor); Jacobs (program manager); AEI (MEP engineer); Walter P Moore (structural and civil engineer)

Total building area (sq. ft.): 957,705

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $510 (new); $320 (renovated space)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $480 million

Completed: August 2018