This three-story, free-standing emergency department and specialty center extends comprehensive medical care to a suburban community, previously with limited care options. The design also functions as a prototype, transferable to other locations and able to be tailored to individual community needs. The landscape design balances a soothing, stress-reducing experience with appropriate vehicle access and parking capacity. It is both welcoming to visitors on approach but also creates a bridge element that is crossed to help transition the public from urban stresses to the care waiting inside. As the patients and staff arrive at the center and easily move across the site, the connection to nature is evident and welcoming.
The building is conceived as a simple and efficient articulated box, integrating the landscape themes into the interior and presenting an open and welcoming face to the public. The public lobbies and circulation zones are located along the south facing “garden wall” where floor to ceiling windows provide an immediate connection to the wide, lush garden area along the front. Two entry canopies link the interior spaces with the gardens, one serving the walk-in emergency department, and the other the outpatient clinics. The interior materials palette echoes the natural environment outside, creating a continuity of experience, with the interiors forming an extension of the exterior environment. The clinical core areas are separated from the public zone by reception areas and the exam/triage rooms. The dense clinical cores were designed to be as flexible and adaptable as possible, able to treat medium acuity emergency patients as well as outpatient visitors. The medical planning creates economic efficiencies by offering a robust diagnostic imaging department within the same facility as primary and specialty care clinics. Modalities not often available in an outpatient setting, such as MRI or CT scan, are economically viable since they also serve emergency department patients – sharing reimbursements and overhead costs. The prototype design also allows for future growth of either a single department or by the addition of a new wing. Soft spaces, such as building maintenance and staff work rooms, are located along the edge of the diagnostics department to accommodate the addition of future modalities with limited remodeling costs. Caregivers at facility are connected via both wired and wireless connections to Swedish’s secure electronic health records system. By securely linking care at the Mill Creek facility to the greater system medical record database, vital information is easily shared by all of a patient’s caregivers. The system is leveraged by physicians and midlevel providers, sharing medical documentation, test results, prescriptions from all Swedish clinics and hospitals, to offer exemplary care to the community.