The Mountain Lakes Medical Center is a critical access hospital designed to provide state-of-the-art health care for a rural community in Clayton, Georgia. The campus aims to promote wellness and positive healing experiences. Therefore, our team created the design concept, “The Space Between and the Space Beyond,” to connect patients, staff and visitors to the surrounding environment.
Perched in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hospital’s unique position allowed us to blur the boundary between exterior and interior. We used clean lines for a minimal, subdued aesthetic. Its sleek, glazed facade physically mirrors the backdrop so that the facility nearly becomes part of the natural landscape.
Our design uses evidence-based concepts to encourage patient comfort, which plays a role in the healing process. The scenic location gives patients a respite and allows them to engage with their natural surroundings. Panoramic views enter the spacious guest rooms through a frame of full-length glass windows—a novel design in rural healthcare facilities. We also brought exterior textures and elements into the interior, such as wood grain headwalls that reach the ceilings. These features draw attention to the environment and inform a positive perspective, one that focuses attitudes towards comfort and ease.
By opening up to nature and welcoming it in, the space itself changes the visitor’s outlook from hospital to hospitality. With amenities like a rooftop patio, multi-purpose room, and the Overlook Café, the facility becomes a retreat. The design ensures a sense of calm and care permeates the space. For example, administrative and maintenance functions are invisible to guests.