The Top 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals in the U.S. Rankings – 2010

by Ryan Winter on June 29, 2010

After more than 10,000 votes to whittle down 50 entries, Soliant.com visitors have put San Diego’s Sharp Memorial Hospital at the top of its second-annual “20 Most Beautiful Hospitals In America” list.

After a 2009 list chosen by the Soliant.com editorial team, we turned the 2010 decision over to you, with an exciting roller-coaster ride of nominations and votes that saw some of the most inspiring medical architecture around vie for your accolades.

Sharp Memorial and #2 choice Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital were the stand-out hits, garnering half the total votes between them.

But the top pick is not without controversy. While many Soliant.com visitors loved Sharp’s flowing, conservative lines, open spaces, and sprawling curved-scroll-style entrance, the building has also been submitted as an onion (an architectural rotten tomato of sorts) on the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Onions and Orchids site:

While one contributor to the site writes “Sharp and its designers should be applauded for an exterior concept focused on creating a healing environment inside”, another complains that the building “has an arrogant main entry that doesn’t relate to hospital operations, functionality or patient circulation… an ill thought exclamation mark on a …plain building that provides minimal design interest.”

Here’s a little more on Sharp Memorial, along with the 19 other hospitals and one tie that made the Top 20 cut, in descending order of votes:

1. Sharp Memorial Hospital

Whether you agree this is indeed the most beautiful hospital in America, you’ve got to admit, you can’t look at Sharp Memorial and keep from talking (a spirited discussion can’t hurt your recovery there as a patient…)

Sharp Memorial Hospital

2. Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

A beautiful hospital inside and out, but what really sets this close runner-up apart from the rest is its menu: 3,000 or so 99% organic items designed to boost patients’ immune systems and keep their spirits high, says executive chef Frank Turner.

Henry Ford Hospital West Bloomfield

3. Metro Health Hospital

This Michigan facility gets top marks for enchanting water features amongst exterior landscaping of tall grass and sturdy pines.

Metro Health

4. Union Hospital

We nicknamed this the “Battlestar Galactica hospital” for its aggressive Circa 2250, entrance-way. Seriously, are there rocket cars and jetpacks behind that set of doors?

Union Hospital

5. Sherman Hospital

When you can’t build a hospital on an existing body of water, dig your own lake to get the job done…

Sherman Hospital

6. St. Rose Dominican Hospitals San Martin Campus

Sexier than most hotels, staggering care has been taken with architecture and decorating, both inside and out.

St Rose San Martin Las Vegas

7. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

A colorful splash of intrigue on an otherwise un-amazing section of the city’s skyline.

Pittsburgh UPMC Childrens Hospital

8. Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies

Looking like a package of giant ‘AA’ batteries collided with the ground next to a tennis ball, this facility is especially stimulating to kids of all ages.

Winnie Palmer Hospital

9. Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center

Another best-viewed-at-night (dusk actually), this hospital could have easily won the “best curb appeal” category, if it existed (maybe we’ll create a few such sub categories next year…)

Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center

10. Providence Alaska Medical Center

If you know nothing else of this breathtaking subarctic settlement, you should know how lucky the town folk are to have such beautiful large-scale facility nestled at the bottom of a snow-caped mountain range.

Providence Alaska Medical Center

11. Dixie Regional Medical Center

One of only two facilities from our 2009 list that also made the 2010 cut, the surrounding terrain makes this center look like something Luke Skywalker might recover in after a light saber-fight-gone-awry.

Dixie Regional Medical Center

12. Cleveland Clinic

This visually stimulating collection of beams and boxes seems to defy gravity, depending on the angle from which you see it.

Cleveland Clinic

13. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula

With stunning picture-window outlooks on forest and aquarium wildlife, this is definitely the hospital with the coolest views.

14. Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

Gorgeous mirrored-glass windows wrap-around one end of this 16-story facility to provide a dramatic reflection of the lush surrounding Virginia greenery.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital

15. The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

These folks (or the architects who designed their hospital) clearly understand the importance of well-thought-out landscaping (the grounds are especially enchanting after sunset.)

The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

16. Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend

OK, we’re admitting our bias: With a futuristic town hall clock façade outside and Disney Animal Kingdom lodge-like grand foyer, with stone fireplace and hefty exposed wooden beams, we were amazed this entry (also on our 2009 list) didn’t rank higher. Just sayin’ is all…

Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend

17. Woodwinds Health Campus

Another earthy return-to-nature, Woodwinds impressed with its bold wood-beam front entrance.

Woodwinds Health Campus

18. Hospital for Special Surgery

Tops in orthopedics according to U.S. News and World Report, this NYC facility displays its own grand beauty and compliments adjacent existing beauty, located just a few feet from the Hudson River. And all hospitals aren’t located on the water, why…?

Hospital for Special Surgery

19. Medical University of South Carolina Ashley River Tower

No stranger to a good curve, this East Coast facility sports classic examples of compelling institutional architecture.

Medical University of South Carolina Ashley River Tower

20. (tie) Clarian North Medical Center

Looking like it sprang straight from the Earth, this Indiana hospital seems as if it could have been built just with the raw materials available within a few hundred feet of the foundation.

Clarian North Medical Center

20. (tie) University of Colorado Hospital

Suggested in the comments of our 2009 list, the striking curves and slivers of brick and glass jutting out from a giant curve of windows above the main entrance are enough to give any patient who stops to look up a boost.

University of Colorado Hospital

Summary:

Did your hospital make the list? Grab the 2010 Most Beautiful Hospitals in America Badge!

What do you think? Would you rank these hospitals differently? Do you agree Sharp Memorial is most beautiful? Or is it the Pontiac Aztec of medical architecture? If you disagree, leave a comment and nominate a hospital for next year’s Most Beautiful Hospitals contest.

By the way, if you had the chance to look at the images used for the voting process, we’d love to hear whether you like the format or would like to see larger/more images to make an educated decision in our 2011 contest*

Previous Rankings:

2009 – Soliant’s Most Beautiful Hospitals in America Rankings

2011:

nominate

Nominate a Hospital for Soliant’s Most Beautiful Hospitals in America – 2011 … click here.

Submit your email here if you’d like to be reminded when voting for the 2011 awards begins.


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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Hazem 06.30.10 at 9:17 am

I like modern architecture, I disagree with your #1, but it’s a matter of perciption & opinion. I like #4 Union, #5 Sherman, #12 Cleveland, #16 SacredHeart & #19 South Carolina.
these looks great, but probably the other choices ranked based on users & clients.
I would recommend Florida Hospital Ginsburg tower in orlando-Florida & Florida Hospital Memorial in Daytona Beach Florida, these two hospitals are great on the exterior & the interior.
thank you very much,
Hazem

Ryan Winter 06.30.10 at 9:24 am

Thanks for commenting Hazem. Our nominations for 2011 have already started so make sure you nominate the hospitals you think are most beautiful here.

Elizabeth Mullikin 06.30.10 at 12:00 pm

The most beautiful hospital is Huntington Memorial Hospital, Pasadena, California.

Debra 06.30.10 at 12:41 pm

Paoli Hospital in Paoli, PA is awesome, inside and out! Beautiful rooms, healing environment, gardens outside, lots of natural light and soothing colors— it’s wonderful!

Amanda 07.01.10 at 8:02 am

A quick note- number 3 here, Metro Health Hospital, is listed as a Wyoming facility. The hospital is actually located in the city of Wyoming, which is in West Michigan. I am fortunate enough to live by the number 2 rank and go to college near the number 3- they are both beautiful, well-run facilities.

Melanie 07.01.10 at 3:58 pm

I think the new “click on photo” was great and easy to view & close. Next time, it would be great to have 3 views in 1 picture of the exterior, interior entry and a grounds view too.
The picture of Providence PAMC in Anchorage, AK was too little to be viewed and I would have judged it lower then #10. Maybe around #17. There were more entries that certainly looked better; however, wait until 2015 to take another picture of Providence. It will be something to consider for the #10 spot or higher.

Frederick Bensch 07.01.10 at 6:35 pm

No. 13 — Thankyou for the selection. Unfortunately, the picture you display is our Hartnell Professional Center and not the actual Hospital. I’ll send you a photo of the actual Hospital.

Naomi Z 07.01.10 at 7:15 pm

Love the contest and coudl argue for hours about some. For the most part, these are stunning and make me want to re-locate. Two suggestions for the future…. In the voting process, more pictures would be nice (say – day AND night). In the results, let us know where these places are – town and state.

Alan 07.02.10 at 3:24 pm

I would be nice to include the design architect in your information for the winners.

Caleb 07.02.10 at 5:34 pm

I know it’s not on the list, but I find the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital blends well with its desert surroundings. A touch of modern blended with adobe influences.

Ryan Winter 07.06.10 at 8:43 am

Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! We’re taking each one into consideration for next year. Keep them coming!

Coralie 07.06.10 at 7:26 pm

Is it possible to submit a new photo for this article for our hospital? The location shown in the photo is not our main hospital? Thanks!

David 07.07.10 at 1:31 pm

Someone else mentioned it, but I will again. The picture for Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula is not the hospital or even a view from the hospital. It is (for lack of a better word) an annex (Hartnell Professional Center) that is located a few miles (in downtown Monterey) from the main hostpital that is nestled in the Del Monte Forest. I also thought you would have mentioned the large koi pond in the lobby and the waterfall and gardens that the hospital surrounds.

Ryan Winter 07.07.10 at 1:44 pm

The Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula photo has been updated. Thanks for catching that!

David, be sure to nominate the hospitals for next year as well, with the reasons you think it should be the considered the most beautiful.

Someone 07.09.10 at 2:32 pm

So . . . did last year’s ranked hospitals suddenly get ugly?

Tracey 07.09.10 at 6:43 pm

It would have been nice to know where these hospitals were if it was not obvious by the name.

Sue De Nam 07.12.10 at 3:42 am

Thanks for making us #8, but at Winnie Palmer we think our building looks more like stacks of poker chips and a habitrail!

Barbara Villers 07.13.10 at 3:20 pm

I must admit I am biased. Sentara Williamsburg is your #9 and it is a lovely hospital. The interior of Duke is lovely with waterfall and piano, however the University of North Carolina Women’s Hospital has the most beautiful stained glass ceiling in shades of blue, aqua, purple. UNC is a well planned hospital — garage on opposite side of hospitals with a trolley or valet service.

Ryan Winter 07.14.10 at 8:19 am

Tracey – thanks for your feedback! We will definitely add the city and state names to the hospital listings next year.

Dawnn Reed 08.12.10 at 7:19 pm

I work for the number 3 pick Metro Health. I love coming to work everyday because of it’s beauty inside and out. This hospital is like no other in the world!

Amanda 08.20.10 at 12:07 am

I would agree that top hospital #17 is definitely beautiful-Woodwinds Health Campus. I did volunteer work inside that hospital for a short time in the Heart and Lung Center. They have really great benefits for the employee’s and volunteers. But i think there should be a Top 50 and maybe add The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. That place is absolutely gorgeous! I also think St. Joseph’s Hospital in Downtown St. Paul, MN is getting more beautiful, but is getting work done inside it.

healthcareguide4u 04.07.11 at 10:58 pm

Hospital Ginsburg tower in orlando-Florida & Florida Hospital Memorial in Daytona Beach Florida, these two hospitals are great on the exterior & the interior.

Bill 05.25.11 at 3:13 pm

With healthcare costs rising at astronomical rates, it is stupid contests like this that encourage hospital corporations, both for profit and nonprofit, to continue building costly structures. We should value quality of care only. Who cares about aesthetics when we are in a national healthcare crisis. The person who thought this contest up should use thier energy for loftier causes.

electronicsreview 08.27.11 at 10:50 am

While many Soliant.com visitors loved Sharp’s flowing, conservative lines, open spaces, and sprawling curved-scroll-style entrance, the building has also been submitted as an onion (an architectural rotten tomato of sorts) on the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Onions and Orchids site:

Symptoms Observed 09.04.11 at 6:20 am

There were more entries that certainly looked better; however, wait until 2015 to take another picture of Providence. It will be something to consider for the #10 spot or higher.

boots 11.18.11 at 2:23 am

we turned the 2010 decision over to you, with an exciting roller-coaster ride of nominations and votes that saw some of the most inspiring medical architecture around vie for your accolades.

Manuel Villegas, Jr. MD 03.26.12 at 4:09 am

Are there objective criteria to say that a hospital is beautiful?

Are there objective criteria to say that a hospital is pretty?

Are there objective criteria to say that a hospital is NOT beautiful? NOT pretty?

If there are, are the criteria based on architectural design, interior design, amenities, etc.?

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