Press Releases

SOM Writes a New Chapter at the Christ Hospital

Image © SOM

Chicago, IL: A June 28, 2012 groundbreaking ceremony will inaugurate the first phase of a 1.4-million square feet (130,000-square-meter) master plan by Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) for The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. Demolition will commence on a parking garage at the south end of the hospital’s complex — clearing the way for the new SOM-designed Orthopaedic and Spine Center (OSC). The 332,000–square-foot design draws on the predominantly red brick character of The Christ Hospital’s existing buildings, interpreting it in a fresh and contemporary manner that fits well within the historic Mt. Auburn neighborhood while reflecting the institution’s dedication to experience, efficiency, flexibility, innovation and brand.

Completion of the new OSC Building will be in mid-2015, with other master plan improvements, including street reconfiguration, a new entrance, parking garage and central utility plant improvements scheduled to be in operation during the building’s construction. The structure will provide a new public face for the south side of the hospital, facing downtown Cincinnati. Its asymmetrical façade highlights The Christ Hospital’s iconic cupola while providing new patient rooms on the upper floors with stunning views of downtown Cincinnati and beyond from its hilltop locale. Lower floors house orthopaedic, spine and sports medicine facilities that are distinct yet fully connected with the hospital’s existing surgery and imaging infrastructure to increase long term efficiencies.

“The master plan considers the complex as a ‘campus’ that enhances patient and visitor experience from the moment they arrive,” SOM Director of Urban Design and Planning Douglas Voigt says. A new, naturally-lit concourse along the east side of the complex will seamlessly link the OSC with the renovated, historic entrance to the hospital. Unseen, but vital, components of the master plan are new underground services along the east side of the complex that will connect the upgraded central utilities plant with the OSC Tower in a way that will enable future additions and renovations to the complex without disruption to vital building services.

The seven-story building (plus one below-grade level) includes facilities for imaging and surgery (with 10 new operating rooms and space to add two additional operating rooms) on the lower floors. The third floor (dubbed Level 1) includes public facilities and is part of a new interior circulation path that connects all the hospital’s buildings on a single level. A roof garden is incorporated into the OSC building on this level to provide a private outdoor respite for the building’s users. Non-public mechanical spaces are located on Level 2 while Level 3 provides raw space for future expansion of patient beds. The upper floors — Levels 4 and 5 — have a total of 60 new private patient rooms and their attendant services. Another roof garden is accessible atop the structure. “It’s hard to design something as programmatically complex as The Christ Hospital in a simple way,” SOM Managing Partner Richard Tomlinson II, FAIA, says. “But our arrangement of spaces clarifies optimal routes throughout the entire hospital, creating gracious and elegant spaces that promote healing by their calming influence.”

Every part of SOM’s design promotes a tranquil and therapeutic environment. Warm materials, including wood finishes, create a comfortable place for patients, visitors, and healthcare professionals. Natural light is provided in every patient room — and carries into corridors as well. The design incorporates numerous sustainable initiatives and is striving for LEED® certification that aligns with The Christ Hospital’s mission.

"Working closely with the hospital leadership, staff and user groups, we looked to innovate at every scale and create a sensitive and thoughtful healing experience that will anchor The Christ Hospital's evolution well into this century," SOM Design Partner Brian Lee, FAIA, says. "This expression of compassionate care is symbolized by the building's lantern — a new Cincinnati beacon that will enhance the iconic nature of the the institution's historic cupola."

For more information about the campus master plan at The Christ Hospital, visit

About The Christ Hospital

The Christ Hospital offers a wide range of medical, surgical and testing services at its main campus just north of Downtown Cincinnati and at numerous outpatient and physician practice locations throughout Greater Cincinnati. Its mission is to provide the finest patient experience and improve the health of our community. For the past 12 years, The Christ Hospital has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s top hospitals, and has been named Cincinnati’s Most Preferred Hospital for 16 consecutive years by National Research Corporation (NRC). The Christ Hospital has been granted Magnet® recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center for excellence in nursing care. For more information about the award-winning services of The Christ Hospital, visit

About Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,500 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.