The University of Virginia Health System


University of Virginia Medical Center Bed Tower Expansion


Since 1978, the University of Virginia has engaged SmithGroupJJR for master planning and design services, including a 650-bed teaching hospital. Ongoing renovations and expansions have helped accommodate the hospital’s high standards of patient-centered care.

The latest is a 72-bed tower expansion with a focus on critical care capacity, adding six nursing units, each with 12 private, acuity-adaptable patient rooms. To study staff access to patient areas, use of natural light, and the patient experience in circulation and waiting areas, SmithGroupJJR used Building Information Modeling (BIM) for 3D design visualization and development.

Because the hospital had maxed out its footprint, the team devised an inventive solution for the eight-story addition: at only 34 feet deep, the expansion is essentially laminated onto the front of the hospital, on top of the existing lobby and main entrance but supported from above by structural upgrades.  The addition even meets new East Coast seismic codes—a prescient move in advance of the 2011 earthquake. With its epicenter only 30 miles away, the hospital suffered no structural damage.

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