Located in a wooded wetland between an apartment complex and Offutt Air Force Base, near a state highway and federal interstate, Carpenter says the building is oriented to take advantage and mitigate against the unique natural elements of the setting.
“The site had a designated wetland area and a protected U.S. waterway, and we use those as amenities to work within the site plan and placing the building,” he explains, adding that a path through the woods serves as a therapeutic tool for patients and an amenity for visitors. The woods and seven healing gardens also provide scenic views from the hospital, and corridors all end with a large window that offers “a nice picture of nature.”
Its location along well-travelled roads provides public exposure, but the hospital entrance faces the residential area to give neighbors the building's most-welcoming view. Tom Trenolone, an HDR senior project designer, notes that hospital windows have soundproof glass and look out on a “pristine field” serving as a buffer zone for the Air Force base.
“The No. 1 goal is to reduce anxiety in the patient,” Trenolone says.
Chao says he believes this was achieved. “It's a very comforting place—it doesn't shout out that it's a hospital,” he says. “The site plan is simple, nothing special, but the interior was either well-executed or the photography was superb.”