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Martha Jefferson Hospital

October 2012
Member Project
Kahler Slater


Your firm's role on the project: Architectural and Interior Design, Master Planning, Philanthropy and Communications Support


Project Mission and Vision

Martha Jefferson Hospital’s vision is to “set the standard for clinical quality and personal health care.” Martha Jefferson’s goal is to re-define community health care and become a national benchmark through a complete replacement hospital strategy. Kahler Slater’s design team’s goal is to ensure that their new vision is met through every experience at their new campus in Charlottesville, VA.

Martha Jefferson Hospital, a 100-year-old community hospital, and known for achieving #1 in the country for patient satisfaction as measured by Press Ganey, was destined to outgrow its downtown location as the city rapidly grew up around it. The decision was made to relocate the entire facility, including the Outpatient Care Center, to a beautiful 88-acre campus just outside of town and within sight of Jefferson’s historic Monticello. The first project on this site was the state-of-the-art Outpatient Care Center, which helped to differentiate Martha Jefferson Hospital in their marketplace in terms of healing, wellness and beauty.

The Planetree replacement hospital itself is designed to provide a soothing transition into a health care experience. A long drive from the street to the front door will help patients and their families leave their busy, everyday lives behind and begin their healing in a bucolic setting that takes full advantage of the same views that inspired Thomas Jefferson almost 300 years ago. Evidence-based design and a focus on patient and staff safety have been integrated into the collaborative design process. The new campus has been designed to allow for flexible expansion and efficient delivery of services, organized into centers of excellence. The ultimate program includes 1.3 million square feet and 448 inpatient beds yet is designed to a human scale to feel comforting and welcoming.

In addition to creating a hospital that will express a comforting welcome to patients, family and even staff, Kahler Slater also helped generate community excitement for the project and raise over $50 million in the capital campaign. The hospital leadership worked with Kahler Slater to produce events from private cocktail parties and home visits to spectacular gala evenings – all with the purpose of not only raising essential capital but also generating a community commitment to the hospital long after its doors are first opened.

Research Used and Lessons Learned

Extensive use of existing EBD research was utilized and referenced for nearly every aspect of the new hospital design. Full scale mock-ups of certain areas, such as nurse servers, as well as product testing ensured a balance between functionality and patient comfort was achieved. By testing the design in early stages, the designers reducted the number of changes that needed to occur during construction and the client had a better understanding of operational and functional changes that would be needed in response to the new built environment.