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  • HuntonBrady Architects

Experiential Architecture: The Cure for the Common Hospital

We’ve all seen the magnitude of change in the market and business strategy for hospital systems over the last decade.

  • According to the 2015 Moody’s Investor’s Service Study, revenue from outpatient exceeded inpatient services for the first time.

  • In the 2017 Modern Healthcare Report, 760 hospitals were acquired between 2008 and 2016.

  • According to a 2017 Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Report to Congress, there were 566 Freestanding ED’s operating in 2016.

  • In 2018, the Advisory Board at the ECRI Institute and Becker’s Hospital reviewed all forecasted significant micro-hospital growth for the next five years.

Virtual doctor visits and wearable devices to monitor health are here to stay. With the ever-expanding network to access hospital-based services in lower-cost settings, will our tertiary facilities and community hospitals fall to the fate of K-Mart, Sears and other “retailers”? Will consumers pass by large, specialized hospitals in favor of convenience?  This begs the question:  What is the future of our acute care hospitals and how will they stay relevant as a choice for consumers?


As healthcare planners and architects, HuntonBrady and our forward-thinking clients recognize that our acute-care hospitals must remain the pinnacle of expert care when we face the most complex health challenges in our lives.  Consumer-driven, experiential architecture that is rooted in the shared values and vision of our clients is the foundation for ensuring health systems remain viable, profitable, relatable and relevant for decades to come.


So, exactly what is experiential architecture?  For us, it has meant the fusion of healthcare architecture, branded environments, and digital technologies to elicit memorable experiences for visitors, patients, staff, and physicians.  We look at the touchpoints that guests have from the second they arrive at a hospital to the instant they leave a facility: how will spaces and moments within the facility be engaging?  How will the hospital make people feel?


These are just a few of our favorite experiential architectural successes:

AdventHealth Wesley Chapel – Hospital Entrance: the arrival sequence invokes the experience of visiting a high-end resort with a linear fountain, well-placed landscaping elements and inviting entrance both day and night.

AdventHealth Wesley Chapel – Meditation Chapel: multiple digital screens, sounds, and constantly changing views of nature invite a reflective experience for those looking for solace and comfort, regardless of their beliefs or faith backgrounds.

AdventHealth Inspiration Place – Women’s Center: “one-stop shopping” with a spa-like experience for busy women: fusing high-tech, clinic, imaging, rehabilitative, education, and yes, even spa services for the ultimate multi-taskers.

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital and ER Entrance: while also allowing for phased development of the ER, and an additional hospital, the architecture creates a mountain-modern resort experience by blending elements familiar to the Colorado landscape with the sophistication of advanced healthcare delivery.

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital - Garden of Eatin’: while engaging the community in the benefits of locally-sourced, locally-available foods, residents and patients experience the nutritional aspects of the CREATION health principles, and the foundation of the Adventist faith.

Castle Rock Adventist Hospital - Manna Restaurant: countering the question of why would you eat at a hospital unless you had no other choice, Manna Restaurant replaces a traditional hospital cafeteria, and in doing so the dining experience has earned a top spot on Trip Advisor for best restaurants in the area.

AdventHealth Tampa - Taneja Center for Innovative Surgery: strategically rebranding the entire campus, this project, currently under construction, places patient access and guest experience for the vertically-integrated, surgical and patient tower for medically-complex patients at the front door.  This transformational project garners the most convenient and most powerful statement for those entrusting world class surgeons and providers for their care.

AdventHealth Tampa - Deli: invoking a new level of sophisticated quick food service for hospital guests, elements of bold graphics invite visitors to refresh, retreat, and engage in co-mingling.


We certainly recognize that we cannot succeed at baseline expectations.  Being prepared to face greater complexities and expectations from our patients, while eliciting hope and trust, is a journey with our clients that we are honored to be a part of as leaders in healthcare.

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