UW News

March 6, 1997

Continuing the tradition: Architectural style maintains Harborview’s history and character

The architectural design of Harborview’s two new wings complements the art deco style of the medical center’s original structure, completed in 1931. The design team, led by the nationally recognized firm of Kaplan/McLaughlin/Diaz, made great efforts to maintain the original look of that era, while designing a new building for the 21st century.

The facade of Harborview’s new six-story West Hospital Wing and the five-story West Clinic Wing is detailed with over 585,000 bricks and garnished along the roof-line with similarly light-colored, pre-cast concrete medallions. These large ornamental emblems are continued in metal work on windows, doors and railings, giving the overall feeling of strength and distinction.

Inside the new hospital, metal work is used with other features to meet the rigors of constant use. But styling is also softened with warm wood and mauve tones to provide a soothing atmosphere for those facing serious illnesses and injuries.

A Level I trauma center like Harborview–filled with advanced technology and intense human activity–can be a very stressful place. Architects and design team members have created an environment that blends a sense of humanity with the best in medical technology. To provide a refuge for patients, families and friends, comfortable spaces have been located throughout the hospital.

Break areas have also been designed for staff to help lessen their day-to-day stress. Prior to this project, Harborview had few such areas. Now, architectural features and public art enrich these and other spaces throughout the hospital.

To build the best hospital possible to meet the diverse and complicated medical needs of the people who receive care here, as well as to bring a sense of humanity to Harborview, the Harborview design team met with hospital staff regularly to ensure that their ideas were considered and incorporated into the facility wherever possible.