Sarasota Memorial Hospital


Sarasota, FL




Architecture, Interior Design, Experiential Design and Wayfinding

Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) is a community hospital located in the heart of Sarasota, Florida. When increased growth of services and patient population became a catalyst for expanding the campus’ existing rehabilitation department, Gresham Smith was tasked with designing a new 76,000-square-foot, four-story inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation facility to optimize and enhance the high-quality care SMH is known for providing.

square feet
private rooms

The hospital’s existing rehabilitation wing lacked space in the patient rooms and low ceilings didn’t allow for the latest therapy tools or technologies. Gresham Smith worked hand in hand with SMH to develop a rehabilitation facility that not only supports advanced technologies, but also features all-private inpatient rooms and therapy areas that are spacious, practical and state-of-the-art.

a patient room in the rehabilitation addition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

To guide SMH with the configuration of the private inpatient rooms, we designed and built a full-scale mock-up of a typical patient room. We held extensive meetings and tours throughout the design phase, giving patients, physicians, staff and the community an opportunity to provide constructive feedback. After evaluating all observations, the inpatient room was revised and rebuilt to incorporate the most valuable comments.

a mock grocery store in the physical therapy gym in the rehabilitation addition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital
physical therapy gym in the rehabilitation addition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Particular emphasis was placed on the operational efficiency of the facility’s inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation gyms. Both feature life-skills retraining areas—including a mock grocery store, a mock car, and a mobile-home staircase and entry door—all providing simulation therapy that allows patients to practice real-world activities.

Along with focusing on physical independence, the new spaces support patients’ emotional well-being. The interior’s soft color palette strikes harmony with the artwork, natural lighting and high ceilings, creating a calming environment. Corridors offer respite by providing resting niches at regular intervals where patients can take a break on cushioned benches that serve as destination points during gait training. Each niche features an inspirational quote that encourages them to persevere.

outdoor mobility garden at the rehabilitation addition at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

With the new facility came new opportunities to provide spaces that were non-existent in the old rehabilitation wing, such as an outdoor mobility garden. Serving as a vital fall-prevention and therapy tool, the wheelchair-accessible space offers patients a real-world practice field for navigating various types of terrains. Featuring planting beds and a putting green to encourage patients to practice the hobbies they enjoy, the garden’s beautiful landscaping also provides a serene environment for families as well as staff, who often complete their charting in this area at the end of the day.