Submitted by: Flad Architects (Madison, Wis.)

Connecting Hearts & Minds. As the nation’s population ages, we are witnessing an alarming surge in the incidence of heart disease, stroke, dementia, and many other serious neurological conditions—and UF Health (Gainesville, Fla.) is leading the charge against these conditions with compassion, state-of-the-art diagnosis, and advanced surgical and non-surgical techniques. Designed to elevate the organization’s mission toward patient-centered care through innovation, quality, comfort, and best-in-class service, the new UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital tower combines two distinct hospital groups into one integrated facility, providing inpatient and outpatient care at one location and promoting physician collaboration, efficiency and, mostly, patient convenience.

The new tower ties to the phase-one Shands Cancer Hospital by a second-level connector that bridges the new and existing hospitals and frames an inviting gateway into the campus. The pedestrian bridge and sweeping outdoor terrace provide several outdoor rooftop gardens for retreat, as well as space for hospital and community events. The building’s site and the more-complete campus create a central park setting, further enhancing the overall experience. Here, lawns, gardens and water features create a peaceful sanctuary for the contemplative and respite needs of patients, their families, and care providers.

Throughout the building, the focus is on creating a positive user experience, with natural light and intuitive wayfinding elements incorporated to ease visitor and employee stress. Major interior elements such as the two-story lobby and open stairs serve as landmarks, while other design elements such as increased transparency, access to views, and the addition of materials and color on vertical circulation cores provide a sense of openness and destination.

In keeping with the goal of putting patients first, the facility offers amenities and resources for families without an institutional feel. Spacious, open, light-filled waiting areas offer a variety of seating types. Patient rooms model a hospitality environment with comfortable seating, warm wood tones, soft and calming colors, and expansive windows with views to the outdoors. Room amenities, including dedicated spaces for families, sleep couches, and technology access, support extended stays by family members, aiding patient care and recovery.

With sustainability and wellness as a focus in the design, the new tower has achieved four Green Globes, making it the first hospital in the U.S. to earn that designation. Notable features include native and adapted landscaping, access to natural daylight, sustainable materials selection, and environmentally sensitive lighting design.

Project Category: New construction

Chief Administrator: Brad Pollitt, vice president facilities, UF Health Shands Hospital

Firm: Flad Architects, www.flad.com

Design Team: Flad Architects (architect of record, landscape architect, and structural engineer); Causseaux Hewett & Walpole Inc. (civil engineer); Affiliated Engineers Inc. (MEP engineer); Skanska USA (general contractor)

Total Building Area (Sq. Ft.): 520,000

Construction Cost/Sq. Ft.: $444

Total Construction Cost (Excluding Land): $231 million

Completed: December 2017