Client: SSM St. Mary's Hospital - Jefferson City
Location: Jefferson City, MO, United States
Completion date: 2014
Lawrence Group, Principal
President, SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital - Jefferson City
System Vice President of Mission Integration, SSM Health
Emil Frei & Associates
SSM St Mary’s is a new 146-bed, state-of-the-art, full service hospital located on a 110-acre site perched on top of a hill in Jefferson City, Missouri. The total square footage is 367,000 square feet. Every design decision that was made had a focus on both the patient perspective and the core mission of SSM. Simple elegance captures the spirit of the interior with a timeless palette, natural
materials and a focus on nature.The building was designed by HGA and Lawrence Group Architects, with Lawrence Group as the interior designer responsible for all interior fit-out including artwork selection.
The art for public spaces was seen as an integral part of the overall design of the hospital. It was therefore important to work with artists who understood the mission of the Catholic hospital.
In the schematic design phase, it was determined that the building palette would be neutral and timeless so that art could play an important role in bringing color and life into the facility. Specific design elements such as terrazzo flooring design and custom light fixtures were included in the architectural package while other areas were noted for commissioned art. Because of the site, the hospital has beautiful views of the Missouri landscape throughout so, while nature played a part in the artwork, it was used as a more subtle reference. The goal for this specific piece was to create a unique piece that would greet visitors at the entrance to the hospital with imagery that reflected the heritage and spirituality of SSM. It was intended to draw visitors into the hospital from the main entrance but also to the chapel from throughout the entire building.
A team was established representing Administration, Pastoral Care, Mission Integration and Foundation to discuss the direction for the chapel which is enclosed by the curved wall on which the artwork was to be applied. At that time, along with creating the design for the Chapel stained glass windows, we asked Will Frank with Emil Frei and Associates to design a mosaic piece for the wall outside the chapel. The design was intended to embody the hospital mission “Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.” The design depicts a sunrise and sunset – a beginning and end – which subtly reflects the stained glass imagery within the Chapel which takes Christ from birth to death paralleling the nuns (who started the hospital) treating patients. The bottom portion is comprised of natural stone smalti with the upper portion created with enameled glass smalti. Beth Trueblood and the team made several visits to the studio to view the artist and his staff as they placed the tiny mosaic pieces into place.
Because it stands at a major entry and exit point, the mosaic depicts a sunrise and sunset – a beginning and end. It shows a single landscape of trees and grass. In the lower portion, the landscape is depicted in a linear language consonant with medical imaging, and in the upper portion, the sun transforms the landscape into color. The lower portion symbolizes the “exceptional healthcare” of SSM, and the upper portion represents “the healing presence of God.” When viewed independently, each panel eludes representation and collapses into abstraction. From a distance, a representational image reveals itself in the panels.