Banner University Medical Center Tucson – New Patient Tower & Renovation

  • area / size 698,000 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Shepley Bulfinch was tasked to bring a human-centered design to Banner University Medical Center Tucson’s New Patient Tower located in Tucson, Arizona.

    Banner University Medical Center Tucson’s new tower provides a healing environment that is inspired by human-centered design and the local natural surroundings. The tower connects to the existing hospital is expandable and flexible for future growth.

    Despite the building’s large size, patients, visitors, and staff are welcomed into a comforting, human-scale lobby space. The finishes are hospital-quality; however, they are detailed with a design sensitivity typically reserved for high-end projects. Floating planes of dark wood that orient visitors and patients to the main public stair and elevators hover over expanses of windows open to views of courtyard gardens and mountains. The prevalent use of multi-textured and colored masonry creates a pattern visible from both the exterior and interior and is a strong visual element identifying major circulation routes. The masonry, often co-mingled with expanses of glass, blurs the edge between the interior and exterior of the building, easing navigation throughout.

    The team utilized an integrated project delivery approach in which architects and engineers worked side-by-side with the construction manager, subcontractors, and owner representatives in a 70-person “Big Room” adjacent to the project site, which supported engagement with many clinicians and staff, improved communication, and increased efficiency.

    The design team worked with Banner to modify Banner’s templates to be applicable to an academic medical center, supporting higher acuity patients and the expanded scale of programs.

    During the planning process, the team worked closely with the local community to review and obtain approval for the proposed site plan and design. Throughout the design process, the team continued to engage with a variety of stakeholders, including the clinical staff.

    The design prioritized non-toxic materials and showcases abundant daylight and expansive views for public, patient, and staff areas, and the Sonoran Desert influenced the colors and patterns selected for interior finishes. Artwork throughout the building includes commissions from local artists as well as pieces created through workshops with local schoolchildren.

    Sustainable features include the use of high efficiency building materials and energy and water conservation strategies. Building depths were designed to allow greater penetration of natural light into interior spaces. The building has clear navigable connections to adjacent city bus and streetcar stops.

    Architect: Shepley Bulfinch
    Associate Architect: GLHN Architects & Engineers
    Contractor: Sundt, DPR Construction
    Photography: Jeremy Bittermann