Merit Award Winner
Project Name: Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Location: Venice, Florida
Design Team: Flad Architects
Gracious and inviting, the new Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice was conceived out of a need to extend top-ranked
emergency and medical services to the rapidly expanding community in southern Sarasota County, Florida. As one of the
largest public health systems in the state, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (SMHCS) is renowned for providing
outstanding, advanced medical care in thoughtful, elegant spaces. As the system embarked on planning, designing, and
crafting a greenfield hospital campus, their initial goal was to create a full-service hospital consistent with the brand’s
modern, post-war architectural style that would be easy to navigate and expansion-ready to meet growing needs for
The resulting five-story hospital includes 110 private patient rooms for medical and surgical care, a 22-bed intensive care
unit, women’s health services (including ten LDRP suites), observation rooms, and a new surgical center housing eight
innovative operating rooms. A connected medical office building provides direct access to complementary, outpatient
services in a one-visit care setting. The facility was master planned to expand to more than double its size, including
three patient towers
Sarasota Memorial Hospital-Venice is the first new greenfield hospital built by the organization since 1925. Built to fill a
gap in coverage for the southwest region of the state, the community quickly embraced the hospital, which was at
capacity within a week of opening – a testament to the quality of care offered and the overarching need for services.
Multiple, master planned phases of the project are now underway, and SMHCS can be confident in their future
development because of the heroic efforts put into the master planning of the Venice site and beyond.
Designing with biophilia in mind, the architects and landscape architects worked together to create strong connections
between the interior and exterior environments. The team preserved swaths of trees with native plantings and added
large ponds and extensive walking paths as community amenities. With extensive use of high-performance glass on the
building's exterior, interior spaces are filled with natural light and feature strong indoor-outdoor connections, views to
the landscaped campus, local artwork, and natural materials – resulting in a unique atmosphere that inspires healing.
The main hospital entrance is opposite a central courtyard livened by a warmly lit water feature that adds outdoor
seating and provides a central landmark visible along the primary interior pathway to enhance orientation and
wayfinding. Check-in desks, waiting areas, and vertical circulation points are sprinkled along the interior path with
serpentine-like lighting coves flowing from the lobby to various departments, creating pleasant layers of light and
reinforcing intuitive navigation.
To further enhance the patient experience, the design team carefully considered the entirety of the patient journey,
including their time prior to entering the building. Thoughtful site planning and clear, visible entry points provide clarity
for those entering the hospital while easing patient and family distress.
Resiliency and disaster preparedness was top of mind in the design of the facilities and site. As part of these measures,
the design team identified and planned flexible site areas for surge tent use and decontamination set-up. Interior
building space was preserved to store movable furniture, while fixed furniture was embedded to be structurally sound.
The landscape team also designed large, structurally sound landscape features, including a 35-foot diameter water
feature at the main entry and a 20-foot cantilevered dining pergola, as an extension of the cafeteria.
Shortly after the hospital opening, the site was tested for resiliency as it was exposed to the Category 4 Hurricane Ian,
which brought four hours of strong winds and rain. As a testament to the enhanced resilience design of the site, all site
elements survived with minimal to no damage.