Health Projects to Watch in 2023

Every healthcare environment should be as unique as its context. From an urban outpatient facility that connects to the community, to an academic medical center that connects to its natural environment, and a hospitality-inspired translational health cancer care center — these projects transform collective visions into lasting and meaningful building concepts that reinforce our clients’ commitments to compassionate care.

“Our project teams have embraced each of these care environments as unique, seeking out the idiosyncrasies of place, climate, history, and culture and endeavored to contribute to bettering the next chapter for our caregivers and the people they help," said Eric Meub, HDR health design director. "These projects embody our approach: To always challenge ourselves to do better than we have before and maintain a complete unwillingness to ever dilute or sacrifice quality.”

Here’s a short list of health projects with major milestones to celebrate this year:


Rush University Medical Center Joan & Paul Rubschlager Building

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Situated in one of the largest urban medical centers in the United States, this new outpatient facility specializes in outpatient cancer care and neurosciences for Rush University Medical Center. Filled with state-of-the-art technology and equipment, the new building brings together clinical care, research, and education to improve collaboration, accelerate discovery, and provide patients access to new treatment options. A pedestrian bridge connects to the larger medical campus, establishing a major pipeline for circulation and future expansion. With dedicated space for pharmacy, patient education, a multi-purpose conference center, and retail space at the ground level, the design of this new facility, inside and out, is focused on enhancing the patient, care provider, and community experience at every moment of interaction.

From the design team:

“It was gratifying to be part of Rush’s strategy to create a destination center for cancer and neuroscience care and see how our design manifested the vision five years later in this striking new addition to the Chicago skyline. Now, cancer, neurosciences, diagnostic imaging, radiation therapy, integrative medicine, endoscopy, and the lung center are all collocated with connected parking for patients, which enhances access, efficiency and collaboration — consistent with the design team’s pillars of success.”
— Mike Doiel, Project Delivery Director

“The selection of the ironspot brick was a collaborative process to find the best possible material choice for the exterior. We engaged in several studies to understand time of day, coursing, grouting, and graffiti sealer to select the combination that brings the new building’s exterior to life. Depending upon the time of day and the weather, and how the sun is illuminating the brick, the building can look different from moment to moment.”
— Pepe Carrillo, Design Coordinator

Read more about Joan & Paul Rubschlager Building

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Patient Pavilion

Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA

As New Hampshire’s only academic health medical center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center serves as a hub for Dartmouth Health and provides care to some of the most complex patient cases in the nation. With a critical need for expansion and to improve the patient, staff and visitor experience, Dartmouth Health turned to HDR to design a new five-story patient care pavilion. Set to open this year, the pavilion will accommodate 64 adaptable inpatient beds on opening day, with the capacity to add 64 beds in the future. The building form, massing and materiality are inspired by the natural context: sunlight between the trees, stone within the mountains, and the flow of rivers and streams. Elements of nature are pulled inward for connection and continuity and expansive views outward toward the surrounding landscape integrate this patient tower within its environment. 

From the design team:

“In almost every space throughout the new tower there are views and daylight that connect people to nature. As you arrive on the campus you are greeted with views of the mountains and now when you enter the facility that connection to the environment remains intact, from the patient rooms and family lounges all the way to the top levels where you can see the Dartmouth College campus over the hills. Though the design is driven by many things, it is firmly rooted in its purpose to reach out into the landscape from within.”
— Meghan Mele, Senior Interior Designer

“The new tower acknowledges the role of the exterior environment as a major component for the staff and patients. I’m excited for the users of the building to enjoy that dynamic between interior and exterior. The base of regionally quarried stone grounds the tower into the landscape creating an intuitive relationship with the changing palette of the seasons. Its materials — natural stone and glass — create a strong, bright, and cheerful connection that extends the beauty of the surroundings inside.”
—Matthew Peters, Senior Project Architect/Technical Lead

“We spent a lot of time with the client from the start to understand the vision and purpose of this new patient care tower. We designed the building through an integrated design process with landscape, architecture, planning and interiors into one cohesive story and language. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is a recognized academic medical center and are extremely committed to the integration of clinical care, education and research. When you walk up to the building it demonstrates and exemplifies all three of those pillars of excellence. Design elements respect the culture of the upper valley and New England while bringing that academic commitment into the clinical environment.”
—Jessica Stebbins, Healthcare Principal

Read more about Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Patient Pavilion

Moffitt Cancer Center McKinley Campus

Tampa, Florida, USA

When complete later in the year, this new 10-story cancer center in the heart of the McKinley campus will expand inpatient care capacity, modernize cancer treatment, and accelerate research for cures. Through an Immersive Design Event, more than 170 stakeholders from an array of departments worked through consensus building to create a hospitality-inspired inclusive building that embodies the ‘bench to bedside’ translational approach. A curved pedestrian bridge linking to the existing site will create a dramatic new gateway to campus and offers a safe, convenient connection to the existing outpatient center for clinicians, researchers and patients alike. 

From the design team:

"From a patient perspective, the lobby space is warm and welcoming, the landscape is welcoming and it's a comforting place related to what they are facing personally while seeking care. We designed the public spaces in a way that hopefully helps patients, and their families forget, for a moment, why they’re there."
— Jessica Anderson, Associate Principal

"We’ve always talked about making good decisions early in the planning process that stick. With this project and client, we were able to achieve consensus across all user groups involved in the immersive design event. We collaborated with frontline staff, physicians, patients and patient representatives, leadership, and many more people to ensure that the decisions we made early served the purpose and ambition that the client had for this new center. The client was incredibly respectful of everyone's perspective being equally receptive to input from housekeeping staff to surgeons."
— James Atkinson, Healthcare Planning Director

Read more about Moffitt Cancer Center