The Christ Hospital – Joint and Spine Center

As part of a comprehensive master plan for this leading medical campus, SOM designed a new, daylight-filled facility that elevates the standard for patient-centered care.

Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2015
  • Design Finish Year 2013
  • Size Site Area: 1,500,000 square feet Building Height: 165 feet Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 381,000 square feet
  • Awards
    2016, Healthcare Design Award, AIA – Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) 2014, Sustainia100 Featured Project, Sustainia 2014, WAN Healthcare Awards: Shortlist, World Architecture News (WAN) 2015, Spark: Health - Finalist, Spark Awards 2016, Healthcare Design Award, AIA – Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) 2016, Silver Award, Modern Healthcare
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Silver, BD+C, Silver
  • Collaborators
    OJB Landscape Architecture Global Workplace Solutions Healthcare Champlin Architecture THP Limited Inc. KFI Engineers (previously Fosdick & Hilmer) The Kleingers Group
Project Facts
  • Status Construction Complete
  • Completion Year 2015
  • Design Finish Year 2013
  • Size Site Area: 1,500,000 square feet Building Height: 165 feet Number of Stories: 8 Building Gross Area: 381,000 square feet
  • Awards
    2016, Healthcare Design Award, AIA – Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) 2014, Sustainia100 Featured Project, Sustainia 2014, WAN Healthcare Awards: Shortlist, World Architecture News (WAN) 2015, Spark: Health - Finalist, Spark Awards 2016, Healthcare Design Award, AIA – Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) 2016, Silver Award, Modern Healthcare
  • Sustainability Certifications LEED BD+C NC (New Construction) Silver, BD+C, Silver
  • Collaborators
    OJB Landscape Architecture Global Workplace Solutions Healthcare Champlin Architecture THP Limited Inc. KFI Engineers (previously Fosdick & Hilmer) The Kleingers Group

Linking an institution’s past and future

Established in 1889, The Christ Hospital ranks among the best medical facilities in the nation. Given its growing needs, the institution tapped SOM to design a 1.4-million-square-foot master plan that included street reconfigurations, a new entrance, and improvements to the central utility plant.

SOM also designed the new Joint and Spine Center as a contemporary addition to the medical campus. The masonry-and-glass building draws from the predominantly red-brick character of the hospital’s existing buildings. The Center’s massing incorporates a projecting “lantern” — a reinterpretation of the campus’s historic cupola — that accents the main entrance, extending up the height of the building.


Putting the patient experience first

Spaces for patients are filled with daylight, and outside views are maximized to support well-being. Patient rooms have wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling frosted and clear glass, and patients are given electronic control of drapes that provide interior and exterior privacy. Rooms follow a simple rectangular geometry like a bedroom; storage for ancillary equipment, patient and family possessions; and cabinetry for supplies and waste are kept out of view to create an uncluttered, comforting environment. An easy-to-use entertainment and information system, bathrooms with a residential character (including separate full-size showers and vanities), and flexible seating for visitors make patients and their families feel supported and respected throughout the healing process. Compact nursing servers are placed next to patient rooms to allow caregivers to play a more active role in patient recovery and to keep the floor quiet by dispersing activity. Natural light extends into the core of the patient floor while elements like support and utility spaces are decentralized.

The design anticipates future needs, permitting the space to be converted to an intensive care unit in the future. Patient rooms on the upper floors offer stunning views of downtown Cincinnati and beyond. Lower floors house orthopaedic, spine, and sports medicine facilities that connect with the hospital’s existing surgical and imaging areas. Wood finishes and other warm materials help create a tranquil and therapeutic environment for patients, visitors, and healthcare professionals.

Outside, soothing greenspaces encourage patients to spend time outdoors as they undertake their recovery. A landscaped courtyard between the old and new structures incorporates native plantings, pergolas, and benches, while a new green roof garden with stunning views of the city skyline provides a place of respite for staff and patients. The master plan for the campus clarified circulation and unlocked the decades-old aggregation of additions. A new concourse and entry linked the Joint and Spine Center to existing buildings and connected the center to a new parking garage via a skybridge. A new north-south alignment of utilities and vehicular and pedestrian movement enables future expansion of the campus to the south.

A light and airy environment is very beneficial for patients during the healing process. The patient-friendly and engaging environment allows for our doctors, nurses, and caregivers to provide exceptional care.


Clear wayfinding

As part of the master plan and expansion, SOM developed new identification and wayfinding signage. These included environmental graphics for the campus’ new entrance and for the reconfigured streets and parking facilities, as well as for the Joint and Spine Center.

The project illustrates SOM’s hands-on commitment to understanding the depth and complexity of a client’s needs and addressing them through design. During the process of developing signage for the interim construction period of the Joint and Spine Center, the design team gained valuable institutional knowledge that helped to inform the solution. For example, as the hospital grew over the years, the existing color-coded wayfinding system developed with it, becoming a dense patchwork of more than 20 colors. The design team recommended a new, simpler system that would allow the flexibility to adapt to the evolving facility.