The acute care expansion for St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale, Wash., uses sustainable design strategies that emphasize the natural beauty of the surrounding site.

For example, the project, designed by NBBJ (Seattle), is closely integrated into the sloping hillside, celebrating the unique topography that shifts 80 feet in elevation from top to bottom.

To create a welcoming, calming environment, the landscape features a healing garden with a reflecting pond and waterfall that cascades through the space. The water feature is set amid low-maintenance grasses, young conifers, and natural boulders that are reminiscent of the region’s lush natural environment.

The healing garden slopes down the hill, connecting two levels of the hospital and providing outdoor dining adjacent to indoor seating and a café. Together, these garden elements bring comfort to patients, family members, and staff, creating an inviting entry as well as a place to visit and seek respite on campus.

The integration with the outdoors is further reflected in the campus’ connection to an urban trail system, with a wooded path that links up with a nearly eight-mile hiking route.

On the façade, a coordinated building enclosure—a curved curtain wall with low-emissivity glass that’s designed to reflect heat, insulated metal panels, and deep sunshades—protects the large expanses of glazing from the southwest sun while providing natural light and stunning views for the interior spaces.

In addition, the project will reduce water usage by up to 34 percent. A key element to planned water savings is a reclaimed water system supplied by the water district that’s piped throughout the building for future irrigation and flushing.

This system will be connected to the district’s  recycled water program when it becomes active in a few years.


Anne DiNardo is executive editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at