The existing hospital was the sum of five separate building campaigns, undertaken over many years, resulting in a less than optimal arrangement of services constrained by aging infrastructure. The priority task of the project was to provide new surgical facilities and significantly increase clinical exam space to better serve the community and relieve pressure on the emergency department.
The architectural goal is to reconnect the hospital to its site and the patients’ and staff’s experience to their wider natural environment. The solution involves both a major new addition to the hospital and a reorganization of the internal departmental relationships. The existing hospital was largely indifferent to its natural setting. A small creek was buried to facilitate vehicle circulation and the building oriented to offer only occasional limited glimpses to the water or to the mountains. Any opportunity for a positive connection to the natural setting was unfulfilled, an unfortunate situation that the new design seeks to remedy.
The new hospital will feature a recreated creek at the main entry and expanded views out to the lush marine forest setting. The clinic waiting rooms, the healing garden, and the main waiting/admissions area physically connect the hospital to the scale and grandeur of the Tongass Narrows and the mountains of Gravina Island beyond, while the designed landscape provides sensory immediacy to the surrounding natural environment.