South Florida Hospital News
Thursday October 1, 2020

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September 2016 - Volume 13 - Issue 3


GS&P Design of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute Wins Best of Healthcare Award

When the University of Miami’s new Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at Naples was completed in July of 2015, Project Manager Shauna Carpenter of Gresham, Smith and Partners (GS&P), knew that it was something special.

“We had a fabulous architect and a team of strong-minded interior designers who were very passionate about their ideas, which made it a very exciting project from the beginning,” she explained of the building that was recently awarded the Best of Healthcare 2016 title from the International Interior Design Association South Florida Chapter at its first annual Bragg Awards. “I thought that it would get recognized, but I didn’t realize that it would get this much attention!”
The building was designed to be memorable both inside and out. “We wanted to portray a hospital building as something different than what you normally see in south Florida, which is a square box with not a lot of detail,” Carpenter explained. “We wanted it to be futuristic, and to have people turn and look at it as they drove by; we wanted to create a landmark.”
Gresham, Smith and Partners, a multi-disciplinary design and consulting firm for the built environment, was in charge of all aspects of the project, both inside and out, which facilitated collaboration. “The interior design department was engaged with the architect from Day 1; we were asked to sit in on early planning meetings so that we would know the level of detail up front, and so that we could design the inside while they were working on the outside,” Carpenter explained. “It was an organic process, and we all had an ‘aha!’ moment when we realized that we had the design to show to the client.
“We expected them to make some changes, but it was a home run,” she added. “They said to go forward and not to change anything; it was a really positive experience.”
The 21,200 sq. ft. patient care and ambulatory surgery center serves as the flagship Gulf Coast location for Bascom Palmer’s internationally recognized ophthalmology practice, and includes 20 exam rooms, a full surgical suite with two operating rooms, a photo suite, physician offices and an optical lab. Approximately $12 million was budgeted for construction.
“While ocular exam rooms are typically rectangular, we had some challenges in that we were working with a triangularly shaped floor plan,” said Carpenter. “We had to make sure that the rooms met the regulations about how testing needed to be done, while still increasing efficiency.”
This was especially important as the number one complaint of patients, who gave high marks to the institute’s state-of-the-art technology and excellent physicians and staff, was that their wait was too long—often up to two or three hours.
“We focused on standardizing all of the rooms so that they were exactly the same,” said Carpenter, adding that the ability of doctors to now use any room at any time has helped to speed up patient throughput and has already noticeably decreased patients’ wait times.
The designers also used all-natural, sustainable, recyclable or renewable materials throughout the building to earn LEED status, including terrazzo aggregate made of recycled glass and low-VOC finishes and fabrics. Because transparent glass paneling on the exterior allows natural light to fill the interior spaces, interior lights were put on sensors that turn them off when natural light is plentiful to save energy. A cantilevered patient drop-off area provides shade to the main lobby’s glass-enclosed two-story atrium, and the building’s window treatments are also on sensors to respond to an influx of light. Water saving methods were also incorporated.
In addition to design challenges, the team also had to deal with distance challenges as well. “Our offices are two hours away from the job site, and we needed to know what was going on every day because of the very fast construction schedule,” said Carpenter. “We used technology to help us—the contractor hired a company called Multivista to record the construction process and had another company come in to take photographs. It helped us tremendously to have a link to the job site so that we could see where changes had to be made, and do them in real time.”
She added, “It was a real learning experience to figure out how to integrate this technology into our practice, but it worked out well. We’re really proud of this building, and so is the client.”

To learn more about Gresham, Smith and Partners, visit or call (786) 532-2100.

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