Ann Arbor, MI

Case Study: St. Joseph Mercy Hospital

We use the garden for inpatient rehabilitation. It's never fun to go to the hospital, so we can bring the patients to this space and let them feel like they'e outside, hearing the rustle in the trees. Dave Raymond, Director of Planning and Design

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Hospitals can be stressful, which is why designers wanted to provide a serene garden space in the two new patient care towers at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Architects needed an innovative design that simulated the outdoors and kept visitors comfortable year-round— even through frigid Michigan winters. They settled on a two-story atrium with natural skylights and no overhead ductwork. The challenges? Combating the build-up of conditioned heat rising to ceiling level in the winter, and creating a natural breeze to offset the heat gained from natural lighting in the summer.


Architects chose two 12-ft (3.7-m) diameter Element fans to transform the atrium into a relaxing, comfortable retreat for patients and families. The silent and stylish fixtures punctuate the skylight, mixing warm air for even temperatures in the winter and creating a gentle breeze that mimics natural air movement in the summer. The ultra-efficient and aerodynamic Element also helps the hospital reduce energy costs up to 30% by improving the efficiency of their heating and cooling systems.

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