Announcing the merger of three premier healthcare design firms.

Ascension Group Architects
MorrisSwitzer~Environments for Health
daSILVA Architects


Black & Morris on Quieter Environments
Black & Morris on Quieter Environments

Designing Quieter Healthcare Environments: Smart Design Goes A Long Way – Partners Jaques Black, AIA and Dan Morris, AIA write about noise reduction as a meaningful improvement in the design of healthcare facilities.


Center for Autism & the Developing Brain
Center for Autism & the Developing Brain

The New York-Presbyterian Hospital Center for Autism & the Developing Brain included the renovation of an existing historic gymnasium, built in 1924 and designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, into a new facility for the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of outpatients with autism.

The main gymnasium space was designed as a “treatment village” with flexibly outfitted activity and consultation rooms that can be used by small children and toddlers as well as by adolescents and adults. Activity spaces are arranged in groupings with distinct three dimensional shapes with roofs and doors and windows opening into joint circulation zones within the larger day lit space. Color, size, shape, texture and light are all used to create active spaces and as a wayfinding tool for patients and families. A healing garden, large windows, and brightly painted roof trusses enliven this activity/treatment area.

The building’s unique distinction of having landmark status for both the structures and the landscape made the design a real challenge. The original landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, had to be removed, regraded and restored for handicap accessibility. Historically inaccurate components were replaced with period correct elements. The existing wood roof trusses were exposed and refinished.

Research &

HAIO Patient Room Challenge
HAIO Patient Room Challenge

The Healthcare Associated Infections Organization (HAIO) was started in Boston to bring together hospitals and designers with the common interest of exploring how design, materials, and operations can impact hospital acquired infections in the inpatient setting. MorrisSwitzer is an active member of the group and recently participated in the HAIO Patient Room Challenge.

The Challenge asked design firms to propose novel ideas to increase infection control in patient rooms. MorrisSwitzer's proposed Bio-Inspired Patient Room centered upon 3 concepts:

  • Establish distinct clean and semi-clean environments: The patient bathroom and wet components are removed from the immediate patient care environment to foster a clean zone area around the patient. Housekeeping will be able to access the patient bathroom without disturbing the clean patient environment. Ease of patient access to the bathroom is maintained via hands-free operation of all doors.
  • Create a Care Cocoon for the patient which completely envelopes them with patient-care technology.
  • Utilize surfaces and curved or coved material intersections that do not allow for the collection and advancement of bacteria. Anti-microbial surfaces would be specified throughout. In addition, flush mount technology, lighting, glazing, entertainments, and storage would be utilized to avoid small corners that would inhibit cleaning.

Hospital based staff from Brigham and Women's Hospital as well as Mass General Hospital reviewed the proposed designs and will incorporate the top ideas into a prototype room at one of the participating hospitals.

On the Boards

Northwestern Medical Center
Northwestern Medical Center

Ground was broken this past spring on E4H's $32 million project for Northwestern Medical Center in St. Albans, Vermont. E4H designed a 44,000SF 2-story medical office building as part of a comprehensive ambulatory care update, configured to facilitate the delivery of treatment with new care models. The new medical office building will be home to Urgent Care, Primary Care, Orthopedics, and Outpatient Phlebotomy.

Within the main hospital, a medical/surgical - intensive care unit addition and renovation will enable all inpatient bedrooms to be converted to private rooms. Additional hospital updates will focus on transforming the front of the facility, and adding new clinical space for Cardiology, Pulmonology, Obstetrics, and Medical Specialty Clinics.

The construction project is slated for completion late 2017.