Design Award Entries

The Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital at UAMS Health

Reaching skyward on the edge of campus, The Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital (TOSH) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS Health) stands confidently alongside the architectural works of Edward Durrell Stone and HOK. Designed for prominence along Interstate 630, TOSH brings UAMS Health’s world-class orthopaedic, spine, and pain surgeons together to practice and teach in a building designed for connection, well-being, and economy.

Project Statement

The Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital provides the Orthopaedic Surgery Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences with much-needed additional surgical capacity, clinical exam space, and residency classrooms to accommodate advances in medical technology, practice, and education, all while providing innovative care in a patient-centered healing environment. UAMS Health executive leadership wanted TOSH to lead the way in departing from the decades-long campus standard exterior material palette. This decision gave designers freedom to create a provocative exterior expression that stands assertively alongside the 1950’s work of Edward Durrell Stone on the UAMS Medical Center and 1970’s work of HOK on the John L. McClellan Memorial Veteran’s Administration Hospital to the east. Designed to showcase a new aesthetic direction on campus, maximize natural light and exterior views, and provide simple, equitable access for patients & staff, TOSH deftly integrates medical innovation and a striking visual presence across four stories in 155,000 square feet.

Creating a state-of-the-art hospital required the stacking diagram to incorporate crucial contiguities while providing benefits to circulation and daylight. The largest program element, the surgical suite with twelve operating rooms, is more than an acre in size. Placing this element on the second level allows controlled access, while forming a large overhang along the south side of the building. This deep projection provides a generous vehicular drop-off area for mobility-challenged orthopaedic patients. Lifting surgery above also allows the clinic and imaging suites to reside on the first floor for ease of access. Ensuring patients recovering from surgery have access to daylight as they heal intuitively placed the twenty-four private patient rooms and the physical therapy clinic above the surgery floor on the third level. Administration and surgical residency’s position on the fourth level focuses on student and staff well-being through connection to natural light and views. Once program elements were stacked effectively, designers layered in a unifying circulation element. This vertical spine element offers a physical and visual connection back towards the rest of the UAMS Health campus, while clearly expressing the main entry. All patient spaces can be accessed off this main north-south circulation zone, with views through the building offering continuous orientation and delight. Every hospital requires a clearly defined path for providing essential mechanical, electrical and plumbing to supply patient treatment areas. Placing the mechanical penthouses on the roof and wrapping the chase-ways down each side of the stacked volume allows the interior spaces to remain unburdened, while also allowing easy maintenance access and emergency egress. As the programmed space needs fluctuate from floor to floor, several roofs are created. This provides a wonderful opportunity to access the healing aspects of nature, with green roof areas for viewing and accessible terraces around the building.

The practice of orthopaedic medicine aims to improve a patient’s movement. Faceted stainless steel, striated concrete panels, and extruded mullion extensions capture changing light throughout the day, giving TOSH a sense of motion along the facade. Striking forms are emphasized with textural and material changes, offering an eye-catching monument easily visible to all who travel through the city. The various claddings also kept environmental impact and life-cycle costs in mind. Generous windows provide each visitor to TOSH with daylight and sweeping views of the UAMS Health campus to the north, and the historic Forest Hills neighborhood to the south. This positive connection to the outside world is essential to the healing and learning environments that fill The Orthopaedic & Spine Hospital. This innovative facility proclaims a bold new direction on the UAMS Health campus that will propel Arkansas towards a better state of health.