Each year, the AIA Healthcare Design Awards showcase the best of health care building design, planning, and research. The projects honored are designed to help solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social challenges while also being functional and sustainable.
Opened in 2021, the Worcester VA Clinic, located on the building’s lower two floors, brings comprehensive health care to area veterans, including radiology, cardiology, mental health, rehabilitation, audiology, podiatry, and pharmacy and laboratory services. The upper two floors of the building are designed to house UMass outpatient and administrative programs.
Clinical spaces are organized around the VA’s Patient-Aligned Care Teams (PACT) model, a patient-centered model of care in which a team of health professionals works collaboratively to provide for all of the patient’s health care needs. Exam rooms have two entrances, one for patients and one for clinical staff, connected to off-stage PACT teaming areas. This design enables multidisciplinary care teams to provide care in one location, reducing the need for patients to move between clinics, while the off-stage workspaces allow the care teams to work and collaborate without disruption to patients.
The building's design is intended to honor the service and sacrifice of the nation’s veterans. Recognizing that many returning veterans who have experienced combat conditions do not encounter a building the same way as the civilian population, the design is a welcoming, calm, and clearly defined environment with visible egress pathways and exit stairs located on the building perimeter.
Dedicated gathering spaces in and around the building, including an outdoor patio, provide places for veterans to connect. The project is designed to meet a Two Green Globes rating, required by Veterans Affairs lease agreement, as well as Massachusetts LEED Plus green building standard, and is LEED Silver certified.
The planning, design, and sustainability of the Worcester VA Clinic has previously been honored by the Boston Society of Architects with an award of merit for Healthcare Design in 2022.
SmithGroup’s Boston office provided integrated design services, including architecture, interior design, MEP engineering, and lighting design. Suffolk Construction served as the general contractor in the design-build relationship. Other key design team members include VHB as civil engineer, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger as structural engineer, Code Red Consultants as fire protection and life safety engineer, Vantage Technology Consulting Group as data designer, and Acentech as acoustical designer.