Replacing the older psychiatric hospital on Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s (SMH) Sarasota campus in southwest Florida, the Cornell Behavioral Health Pavilion enhances, expands and centralizes inpatient and outpatient care for people affected by mental and behavioral health challenges. Gresham Smith provided architecture and interior design services for the 95,000-square-foot facility, which was strategically designed to prioritize the patient experience while maintaining the highest level of security for staff members.


Sarasota Memorial Hospital


Sarasota, FL

Project Type



square feet




inpatient units

In addition to outpatient services, the pavilion includes four inpatient units dedicated to specific patient populations: a 16-bed geriatric unit, a 20-bed acute care unit, a 24-bed adult unit and a 22-bed adolescent unit. while the units are similar in layout, unique colors, finishes and artwork on each floor—which were strategically chosen to reduce environmental stressors—give each space a unique identity. To maintain safety for patients and staff, we created a true front-of-house/back-of-house circulation, both horizontally and vertically.

From the beginning of the design process, SMH made it clear that they wanted to increase patients’ access to sunlight. In addition to incorporating larger windows, we also increased each floor’s ceiling height, which not only provides more natural light in patient rooms, but also allows daylight to reach deeper into the space. Glass partitions around staff and social spaces also allow light further into the building while also enhancing sightlines.

Promoting dignity and independence, inpatient rooms allow patients to control the temperature and mood lighting in their room, open and close their blinds, and certain patient populations have access to a personal shower. The interior courtyard, which features a garden, patio and gym, and upper-level screened-in porches provide respite and further connect patients to nature.

Project Contact

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Michael Willis, AIA, LEED AP
Michael Willis, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Architect