Heart Centers  /  Previous Firms   /  The Wisconsin Heart Hospital (HDR Inc. Architect of Record)*

The Wisconsin Heart Hospital is a 60-bed, 127,000 SF freestanding specialty hospital designed for cardiac patients as a more patient friendly environment than traditional hospitals. It was built under challenging conditions to maintain maximum visibility and access on a narrow and sloping site.

The technological revolution that has been in place for the last 10-15 years has allowed patients to go to less stressful places to have higher level procedures done than was traditionally possible. The Wisconsin Heart Hospital is a prime example, reflecting the move away from heavy cardiothoracic surgery with long recovery times, toward interventional and minimally invasive procedures with higher recovery rates and less time in the hospital.

The facility has six interventional (cath) labs and three operating rooms. The interventional labs are on the first floor close to the main entry, the emergency heart center, and other diagnostic services for easy outpatient access. The OR’s are upstairs with the inpatient beds. This strategic placement provides virtual real-time connections that deliver the fastest lifesaving emergency cardiac care where it’s needed, when every minute counts. The first floor interventional unit is supported with 21 day beds while the second floor surgical OR’s are central to 40 inpatient rooms, arranged in pods or “neighborhoods” of 10 beds each for more direct care. Each pod has direct access to the surgical OR’s.

The two-story hospital is divided in the center by an atrium, extending the entire length of the structure. The atrium serves as an identifiable wayfinding device for patients and families. Waiting areas on the upper floor are open to this space and enjoy abundant natural light. When the hospital is viewed from the side, arches spanning the atrium from front to back give the appearance of wings, emulating the famous Milwaukee Art Museum designed by Santiago Calatrava, highly admired by the client.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare


Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Michael Tangney

127,000 sf
60 beds
6 Interventional Cath Labs
3 ORs

Michael Tangney's role was Lead Project designer for the Wisconsin Heart Hospital project while with HDR Inc.

Photography by Mike Tangney.