Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital

Arctic Slope Native Association
Barrow, Alaska, USA

Located 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle in an extremely harsh arctic climate, Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital is a new critical access hospital for the next generation of Alaskans. HDR, in partnership with local firm, RIM Architects, realized the vision of the native Inupiat People for this one-of-a-kind replacement hospital. Developed as a 50-year building, it is the first hospital in the U.S. built under the Title V new construction program which establishes a permanent self-determination program within Indian Health Services, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Visually connected to its surrounding landscape, the facility is situated to have minimal impact on the surrounding environment and traditional subsistence hunting. Designed to respect and celebrate the Inupiat culture, it serves as the hub for health, education and social interaction within Barrow and the North Slope communities. Recognized by the community as a part of the cycle of life—from birth to healing through death, the design reflects the culture and the environment, drawing from the landscape with its dynamic ice patterns, low light angles and the dancing colors of the Aurora Borealis. The high-end design and the incorporation of evidence-based design principles support a spiritual atmosphere, which revolves around quality, family-centered care in a safe environment.

A Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) facility, it will significantly improve the scope of services in the area. Outpatient health services will be consolidated in the building, and some inpatient services will be expanded, including an eight-bed inpatient unit and a low-risk birthing unit.


  • 2015 Winner, Healthcare category - International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Great Plains chapter IDEA Awards
  • 2014 Honor award - American Institute of Architects (AIA), Alaska chapter