From top to bottom, EYP Health’s design of Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut, was about balancing the healthcare concept of “high tech and high touch,” embracing advanced technology and practice as well as personalized and humanized healthcare.
With design led by Houston-based Tushar Gupta, a principal at EYP Health, formerly WHR Architects, this facility was years in the making. The overall composition is a radical departure from the hospital’s former location, which had become cramped, technically outdated, and comparatively unfriendly. “We have effectively changed the way healthcare is delivered, which took a lot of commitment and innovative thinking,” says Kathleen Silard, Stamford Health’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, office of the president.
Warm palette and plentiful natural light
The new Stamford Hospital is one of fewer than 80 hospitals nationwide to gain designation from Planetree, a nonprofit that focuses on the creation of better healthcare facilities. The designation is organized around 11 components of patient-centered care, from creating a healing environment to promoting health education. This holistic approach begins outside the building itself, as walking trails, gardens, and a greenbelt connect the hospital to a neighborhood park, improving access to the outdoors and encouraging exercise.
The exterior envelope of the 650,000-square-foot, 235-bed hospital represents the goals of what Gupta calls “person-centered care.” The base consists of earthy materials, including terracotta and stone, which reference the local landscape. Above, the structure takes on a lighter, high-tech profile, with layered, reflective glass reducing bulk outside and allowing for bright, open patient spaces within.
A projecting metal-and-glass canopy and glazed entryway welcome people inside the light-infused, double-height lobby, which leads to a glowing desk, a main concourse, and a cafe and gift shop. Warm materials, like terracotta panels and wood and stone veneer, are brightened not only by tall windows but by a sizeable art program, which consists of 600 pieces by local artists installed throughout the hospital. In addition to abundant daylight, interior lighting is a balance of downlights, pendants, and recessed fixtures.
Intimate quiet zones along the concourse, as well as a library and a chapel—fitted with a blue glass art installation along one wall—allow for varied gatherings. A curved terrace along the exterior carves out space for relaxation as well as activities like yoga and meditation. “It’s all about providing choices. We all respond differently to different situations,” says Gupta.
Located behind the concourse, the emergency and surgery departments contain more than 40 treatment areas clad in wood and stone veneer. Clerestory windows and a smooth curved soffit allow both natural light and soft artificial light to penetrate deep inside, and clear sight lines help reduce stress and clutter. The surgery and emergency waiting rooms take cues from hospitality, with carpet and stone tile flooring, cove lighting, and contemporary furniture for an interior that feels hotel-like.
The second floor, which houses the heart and vascular center and intensive care unit, emphasizes light and nature. Living room-like intensive care unit waiting rooms have gradient-etched glass dividers that delineate spaces but allow light through while also ensuring privacy. Intensive care unit rooms contain warm finishes, and many afford views of a planted family terrace. Overhead booms centralize technology, allowing treatment to occur in the room itself. Another planted terrace is reserved for the staff, just outside their lounge.
Empathy through design
Most patient rooms—all private with their own bathrooms—have floor-to-ceiling windows and, thus, feel much larger than they are. Wood veneer walls, wood floors, cove lighting, and en suite furniture for patients and guests combat the usual sense of hospital sterility. Patient rooms all boast spectacular views, sometimes stretching as far as Long Island Sound. In the halls outside, 32-foot-wide graphics depicting local scenery, including cherry blossoms and lighthouses, help visitors distinguish each floor.
With a building that is now one year old, the hospital has garnered dramatic positive results. Patients are posting higher satisfaction scores while being treated more quickly and effectively. And the facility has helped the hospital attract talented new staff members, from surgeons and doctors to nurses.
“Empathy can be expressed through a building, through warmth, through access to light, and through smart design,” says Gupta. “It has a much more far-reaching impact than bricks and mortar.”
who Architect and interior designer: EYP Health. Project team: Tushar Gupta; Anthony Thomas; Roseann Pisklak; Sherri Shafiei. Contractor: Skanska USA. Lighting: HDLC Lighting. Engineering: BR+A (MEP); Walter P Moore (structural). Kitchen: Worrell Design Group. Landscape: Dirtworks Landscape Architecture. Graphics: PDG. Art: Kathy and Katharine Sachs. Wayfinding: Phil Nelson.
what Wallcoverings: Carnegie Xorel; KnollTextiles; Koroseal. Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: Abet Laminati; Bonlex; Formica; Nevamar; Pionite; Wilsonart. Other surfacing: Corian; Ice Stone; 3form; Lightblocks. Walls: American Olean; Graniti Vicentia; Interstyle; Vogue Bay; CS Acrovyn. Flooring: Plyboo; Crossville; Daltile; Walker Zanger; Nora; Patcraft; Shannon Specialty Floors; Johnsonite; Roppe. Carpet/ carpet tile: Interface; Karastan; Milliken; Patcraft; Shaw; Tandus Centiva. Stone: O&G Industries; Gemstar. Ceilings: Armstrong. Lighting: Cooper Lighting; Focal Point; Juno Lighting; Herman Miller; Peerless; Ecolux; Gammalux; Lumenpulse; Kurtzon Lighting; Amerilux Lighting; Winona LED; USAI; Pinnacle; Robert Abbey; Louis Poulsen; Impact Lighting; Tech Lighting; Foscarini; Yellow Goat Design; Eureka Lighting; Leucos USA; Oxygen Lighting; Contech Lighting; Lumascape; Electric Mirror. Architectural glass/ glazing: Viracon. Decorative glass panels/partitions: 3form; Skyline Design; Joel Berman; Meltdown Glass. Commissioned art glass: Gordon Huether. Window treatments: MechoShade. Workstations: Herman Miller. Seating: Herman Miller; Bernhardt Design; Carolina Business Furniture; Cumberland; David Edward; HBF; Champion Manufacturing; H Contract; Stance Healthcare; Wieland Furniture; Davis Furniture; BFM Seating; HighTower; First Office; JANUS et Cie. Upholstery: Anzea Textiles; Arc-Com Fabrics; Architex International; Bernhardt Design; Brentano Fabrics; Carnegie Fabrics; CF Stinson; Designtex; HBF Textiles; KnollTextiles; Kravet Contract; Maharam; Momentum Group; Pallas Textiles; Paul Brayton Designs. Tables: Herman Miller; Smart Desks; Nienkamper; Versteel; Bernhardt Design, Futrus USA; Herman Miller; HighTower; Arcadia Contract; Carolina Business Furniture; Martin Brattrud; ERG International; HBF; Nemschoff; Nucraft Furniture; Eldridge Wood Design; JANUS et Cie; Midmark; Nemschoff; Nevins. Files and shelving: Herman Miller. Lockers/cubbies: Hallowell; Ideal Products. Drawers/ casegoods: Nevins; Nucraft Furniture; Krug. Planters/ accessories: Claridge; Ergotron; Forms+Surfaces; Herman Miller; Magnuson Group; Nevins; Peter Pepper Products; Waste Wise; PointeShield; Sanitized Acti-Fresh; Designtex. Textile treatments/finishes: PointeShield; Nanotex; Writer’s Block; Teflon; Crypton; Crypton Green; NanoSphere; GreenShield; Brayton Ease; Write-Off; Permablok3; Advanced Beauty Gard Supreme.