High-Tech Replacement Hospital Optimizes Operations + Experience, Reflects Community

The new 525,000-square-foot UP Health System – Marquette campus, is complete. The full-service hospital includes a 90,000-square-foot medical office building and parking structure. This project is part of the largest brownfield redevelopment undertaken in Michigan. The hospital’s design helps to optimize operations, enhance the patient experience and incorporates unique elements to help address the challenging climate of the Upper Peninsula.

Given the climate, most visitors, staff and patients enter through the parking structure at the end of the building. The design team crafted a strong sense of entry both for the front façade and the entry through the garage while optimizing wayfinding. A two-story concourse connects the front entrance and parking, as well as acts as the main circulation spine, providing visitors and patients immediate access to all public spaces through this central space. The design also creates departmental adjacencies and separates front and back-of-house functions, which helps drive greater efficiency and flexibility.

The exterior composition of white precast panels and blue glass reflect dual inspirations—the technological sophistication of the hospital, as well as elements from the surrounding natural landscape, including the prominent birch tree groves in the area. Other aspects of the design pay homage to Marquette’s history of iron ore mining; light-reflecting brick embedded with ore creates a metallic-like quality furthering the campus’ visual prominence within the community.

Located about a mile inland from Lake Superior, the building is oriented and designed with the weather in mind. Expansive windows on the south side patient rooms and lobby maximize daylight and southern exposure to benefit the human experience and energy efficiency. The structure is elongated in the east/west direction due to Northwest prevailing winds in order to reduce snowdrift at critical patient access points and minimize drag.

The project team included architect Gresham Smith and a joint Skanska Closner team served as general contractor.

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Posted September 16, 2019

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