Barber McMurry prove they have a big heart with new Medical Center at Uni of Tennessee
The impetus for this project was to expand the patient capacity for a regional medical center and provide CVICU care housed within a new 'Heart Hospital' wing. In identifying the most logical available real estate at the University of Tennessee Medical Center for expansion, the team concluded that while patient bed expansion might be the primary goal, the selected location, visibility, and proximity to a major interstate and campus entry provided the perfect opportunity to create a new architectural front door to the campus.
This campus, expanded and renovated multiple times over several decades, suffered from a lack of discernible 'entry'. Visitor approach and direction relied entirely on signage for orientation. The team from UTMC Facilities Planning brought engineering, architectural, and interior design expertise into the collaborative process with BarberMcMurry architects. Working with the talented team from the UTMC Facilities Planning department, Barber McMurry architects created an immediately recognisable, iconic entry, lobby, and waiting area to a campus that otherwise has none. This embracing front door becomes the new 'first impression' series of spaces for patients and visitors.
The key patient elements at the entry and second floor levels include increased endoscopy lab capacity and cardiovascular care beds. The third and fourth floors are constructed as shell space for 64 additional cardiac care beds. Future vertical growth is planned for up to five additional levels.
The forms and materials of the Heart Hospital blend with the campus vernacular but are composed in a way to contrast with the existing. This was essential for the tower to make its own architectural statement. Through the use of glass, lighting, and composition, the tower is juxtaposed against the older hospital architecture of the 1950’s and 1980’s, while still respecting those periods.
A tight budget, difficult schedule, and challenging site necessitated a close working relationship between UTMC and Barber McMurry architects – in addition to Johnson and Galyon Contractors. The outcome of which has been a very well received project and source of pride for the entire hospital and East Tennessee. Collaborative design at its best – great projects depend on great clients.