As it is in the civilian world, health care in the military is a growing enterprise that requires facility expansion to keep pace with demand. The armed services clientele doesn’t differ much from the larger population, since spouses, children, and retirees are provided with care. Similarly, military facilities are incorporating the amenities and consumer values found in the larger universe of American health care. NBBJ’s addition to the Bremerton Naval Hospital, in Washington, one of about 20 U.S. Navy hospitals around the world, embodies these values and is a model for future planning. It consists of a new family-care outpatient clinic attached to an older, more traditionally conceived hospital. Located in a nearly rural zone on the western fringe of metropolitan Seattle, the hospital serves 60,000 military families in Washington and Oregon.
The 63,200-square-foot addition expands a 250,000-square-foot naval hospital built in 1980, which occupies a gently sloping wooded site on Washington’s Kitsap peninsula, overlooking Puget Sound’s Ostrich Bay. The new building contains family-care clinics comprising 66 exam rooms, seven procedure rooms, and 32 medical offices; a pharmacy; three large waiting areas; and a new entry joining the old and new buildings. Support functions include medical-records storage, a wellness center, staff lounges, and an allergy/immunization clinic. NBBJ also partially renovated the older hospital. Among the project’s goals were creating a patient-focused healing environment, a pleasant work space, clarity of circulation, integration with the natural context, expression of naval motifs and traditions, and sustainability within a tight budget of $200 per square foot.
The key visual motif of the complex is a glass-walled atrium, dubbed the “quarterdeck”—a Navy term for the main entry area of a ship or a command, usually decorated with flags and serving ceremonial as well as circulatory functions. Here, the quarterdeck acts as a “knuckle” joining the old hospital with the new clinic by means of freestanding, intricately detailed steel stairs and second- and third-story bridges that float within a spacious three-story volume.
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