In designing St. Anthony, a privately funded hospital in the wooded area outside Seattle, the architects at Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF) asked themselves, “What would you want to see in a five-star hotel?” says ZGF interior designer, Anita Rossen. The comparison of hospitals to hotels is not so off-base: Evidence-based design principles now influencing the architecture of health-care facilities have been taking cues from the hospitality industry [record, August 2009, page 73]. While the research has benefited from hotel studies focused on reducing stress among travelers, the motive of the hospitals is not to convince inhabitants to stay longer at the lodge. By trying to create a hotel-like atmosphere with single-bed rooms, ample views of the outdoors, indirect lighting, soft colors, and textured fabrics, health-care facilities such as St. Anthony are speeding recovery time and shortening the stay of their patients.
Certain hospital features cannot be forsaken entirely — for example, the extensive use of washable floors instead of carpeting. Nevertheless, by adhering to evidence-based design findings, St. Anthony can claim an average stay of 2.6 days for its patients.