Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca

Ithaca, NY

69,000 gross square feet


The original 1979 HOLT design for Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca created two splayed patient wings overlooking Cayuga Lake projecting outward from the main hospital block.

The racetrack plans contained a mix of single and double patient rooms. The striking saw-tooth exterior facades afforded patients with direct lake views from their beds.


Twenty-five years later HOLT designed renovations to these wings retaining the original design concept, but making substantive upgrades to the cores to embrace current nursing/patient care models, improve staff efficiency and lower patient response time. The traditional nurse stations were reconfigured to accommodate central documentation, dictation, and caregiver interaction. In addition, outboard nursing pods keep nursing staff closer to patients they serve with fewer distractions. This configuration allows for staffing expansion and contraction to adjust for day or night shifts, as well as fluctuations in patient census. Each core includes a private meeting room for doctors, staff, and family members to discuss patient treatment.


Existing double rooms were redesigned to be typically used in single bed configuration, but still allow for easy conversion to a double. Rooms were zoned around the bed with family functions outboard and nursing functions inboard. Sleeper sofas create the feeling of a living room and allow family members to comfortably stay overnight. Indirect lighting options are patient-controlled. Built in oak wardrobes include open shelves for personal patient objects, and individual toilets include free form integral sinks with a personal storage niche, decorative lighting, and designer fabrics using a soft color palette to create a hotel ambience. These added personal amenities and improved level of staff care reduce patient stress and improve patient outcomes.


New family lounges located between the entrances to the two patient wings and opposite the main elevators overlook the central garden and lake. Sculptural, soft seating with a table and chairs for families are shielded from public view behind decorative glass screens. These semi-private spaces provide families with a quiet space outside the patient unit.


For more information about this project contact Paul A. Levesque II, AIA, LEED AP:


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