Type of facility: Emergency room and surgery centerClient: Seton Healthcare NetworkProject architects: PageSoutherlandPage, AustinConstruction Manager: Vaughn Construction, San Antonio Completed: August 2005Size: 110,000 gross square feetCost: $4.1 million)Cost per square foot: $377
A hospital's lobby is usually the main way patients are introduced to a hospital and it speaks volumes. Officials at Seton Medical Center, Austin, Texas, see the lobby as such a priority that they have spent more than $40 million on a welcome they feel is befitting day-surgery patients.Connected to the original 536-bed hospital, the new lobby and day-surgery center are translucent-glass structures that lend a feeling of tranquility with muted natural light that floods the interior. The structure has an arched, glass porte-cochere that serves as a shelter for drop-offs, who enter and see the glass theme carried out in every aspect of the building, from the front desk to the chapel. The judges say this gives the project the highest level of consistency.The judges also note the contrast and sensitivity of the glass design with the older and less architecturally ambitious brick building that is connected to the lobby. "It took a formidable architectural context andtranslated it with a lot of integrity and completely new material andfeeling for the building," says contest judge David Allison. The 110,000-square-foot addition opened in August.