St. Joseph South Patient Tower - CODAworx

St. Joseph South Patient Tower

Client: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital

Location: Pontiac, MI, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $850,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

Annette Ridenour

Aesthetics, Inc.

Art Consultant

Pamela Nickell

Aesthetics, Inc.


Glen Michaels, Jacqui Ridley/Morrine Maltzman, April Wagner, Janice Trimpe


Motawi Tile, Ramona Martin, Katherine Larson


For more than 85 years, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has stood as an example of dedication to the community, as an institution of hope, and as a beacon for quality care and quality outcomes to patients and their families. As an organization they are constantly striving to deliver the ultimate patient experience through quality care, strict attention to patient safety, and ultimately though quality outcomes. In order to continue to deliver this level of care, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is prepared for the future with its brand new eight-story, South Patient Tower featuring 204 patient rooms.


Aesthetics collaborated with HKS Architects on the vision for how art could be integrated into architecture for the main lobby and as wayfinding landmarks for each of the elevator lobbies on the patient unit floors. The project started with a visioning session that included a multidisciplinary arts committee from the hospital along with the HKS design team. The following represented their goals:

• Use evidence-based methodologies to select artwork that facilitates the healing process and measures the impact of the arts program
• Support the harmony of the body, mind and spirit in faith-based healing environment
• Enhance the patient journey by providing personal-experience opportunities with the arts
• Use regional artists to celebrate the visual and cultural history, heritage and diversity of the community


HKS Architects created three-dimensional renderings of the main lobby and elevator lobbies that set the tone for how art could be integrated into architecture. A Call for Michigan Artists was released for the entire collection. Among the 200 artists applied, 81 artists were selected to create a total of 420 pieces. Four artists were selected to create the architecturally integrated art for the Main Lobby. April Wagner created a blown glass sculpture for the large natural stone wall that greets you as you enter the lobby. Glen Michaels is a very well known sculptor from Troy, Michigan who had the good fortune of having his life saved by St. Joseph many years ago. His 13-foot assemblage of tile, metal, glass and found objects creates a geological referenced sculpture that plays off the smooth stone and framed rough stones on this large fireplace. Jacqui Ridley and Morrine Maltzman worked together to create dichroic glass mosaics. They created a mosaic treatment for the lobby fountain. Bringing dazzling color into the space, it features golden circles and flowing waves of color representing hope, strength, courage, power, tranquility and optimism.

Additional Information

Each patient floor was given a different theme to assist in curating the art. The artists were given visual imagery to work from and created pieces that are used for wayfinding, differencing the floors and serving as landmarks, as well as articulating the theme of each floor. Motawi Tile’s ceramic pieces on the third floor represent Hope. Ramona Martin’s mosaic pieces for the fourth floor represent Inspiration. The reaction to the art in this building has been fantastic. Anecdotal information demonstrates that it is achieving its goals. Data will be collected in the future to test this out.