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…)
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.
3. Metro Health Hospital
This Michigan facility gets top marks for enchanting water features amongst exterior landscaping of tall grass and sturdy pines.
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?
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…
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.
7. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
A colorful splash of intrigue on an otherwise un-amazing section of the city’s skyline.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
12. Cleveland Clinic
This visually stimulating collection of beams and boxes seems to defy gravity, depending on the angle from which you see it.
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.
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.)
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…
17. Woodwinds Health Campus
Another earthy return-to-nature, Woodwinds impressed with its bold wood-beam front entrance.
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…?
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.
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.
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.
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*
Nominate a Hospital for Soliant’s Most Beautiful Hospitals in America – 2011 … click here.
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