The Wisconsin Heart Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is an example of the trend toward less-invasive heart care approaches—more catheter-based treatments and fewer open-heart surgeries. The hospital will have six interventional labs and three operating rooms. One-third of the hospital’s 60 beds will be on the first floor, where all outpatient services are to be located. These first-floor beds will be day rooms, used for all interventional and outpatient procedures. This represents another departure from the past, when one would find all patient rooms on the second floor, and they essentially would be identical.

This layout is partially dictated by the hospital’s confined urban location, and the first floor simply did not allow enough space for both the operating rooms and the catheterization labs. The conclusion was that the hospital’s design would be best served by placing the surgery department on the second floor, where it is centralized to the inpatient rooms. In the event that a patient being treated in a catheterization lab unexpectedly requires open-heart surgery, one of the catheterization labs has been designed for immediate conversion into an operating room.


The two-story hospital itself is divided in the center by a two-and-a-half-story atrium entrance that features glazing for maximum daylight. The atrium extends almost the entire width of the hospital but is lower in the middle than at the two ends. Thus, when the hospital is viewed from the east and west, arches spanning the atrium from the north to the south give the appearance of wings.

Project category: Project in progress/Under construction (January 2004)

Chief administrator: Norma J. McCutcheon, President, (414) 456-2398

Firm: HDR, (402) 399-1054

Design team: Mike Doiel, Project Principal; Ed Brooks, Project Manager—Design; Kent Davidson, Project Manager—Construction; Mike Tangney, Project Designer; Donovan Wattier, Project Architect

Total building area (GSF): 127,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $210

Total cost (excluding land): $62,000,000