St. Peter's University Hospital Surgery Suite and the author's photo.

DMR Architects Delivers Function and Harmony at St. Peter’s University Hospital

DMR Architects Delivers Function and Harmony at St. Peter’s University Hospital 2560 1450 DMR Architects

by Pradeep Kapoor, AIA

Healthcare is one of the most rewarding aspects of our profession, because it requires that we deliver not only a highly-specified functional environment but that we create an aesthetic that is both efficient for practitioners and comforting to patients.

For years medical facility layouts have been moving toward experiential design which focuses on more than simply providing care, but acknowledges that spatial experiences, such as calming materials, privacy and clear wayfinding, impact both services and healing.

With $15 million in current projects at St. Peters University Hospital, our work there is an example of how DMR is able to blend an understanding of professional standards and practices with an aesthetic that engages medical personnel and patients. The result is outstanding functionality for practitioners, while inherently supporting confidence and comfort for patients.

In the Surgery suite, we developed a layout that provides a standard of privacy above basic HIPAA compliance, and an interior design scheme that so closely matched the hospital’s commitment to patient experience, that it has been implemented as a standard, beginning with DMR’s projects in the Oncology and Cardiology suites.

Finish palettes for the Surgery and Oncology suites, revealing the hospital’s new standard for the material representation of their commitment to the spatial experience.

Recognizing that the user experience is not limited to only patients, this theme continues into the new employee cafeteria, which was reimagined to provide staff with an experience more like eating at an upscale café or restaurant through the use of high-top tables and bank seating, a “kitchen island” and a lounge area for relaxing.

Like all architecture, there is a meeting of science and art – but where medical uses are concerned, an architect’s ability to marry functional needs like circulation and adjacencies with experiential needs like finishes and furniture is critical in spaces where seconds can make a difference.

This article originally appeared in Real Estate NJ.

Pradeep Kapoor Joins MARE Journal Healthcare Panel

Pradeep Kapoor Joins MARE Journal Healthcare Panel 789 444 DMR Architects

On January 30, DMR President & CEO Pradeep Kapoor, AIA joined a panel at the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal Healthcare and Medical Properties Conference at the Sheraton Edison Hotel.

Pradeep joined industry colleagues on “Critical Construction and Design Issues for Medical Properties and Hospitals” panel to discuss project planning, financing, design trends and what DMR is seeing in the healthcare marketplace. Other panel members included Nathan Howell of STV, Inc.; Kate Kerpcha of BFI; Mitchell Brie of Empower HCP & moderator Ron Simoncini of Axiom Communications.

Prior to assuming the role of President & CEO of DMR in January 2024, Pradeep established himself as a leader in specialty work during his 20+ year tenure with the firm. As a project manager and project executive, he has led healthcare projects for clients including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hackensack Meridian Health, Hunterdon Healthcare, Valley Hospital and St. Peter’s University Hospital.

For more on DMR’s healthcare experience, visit our portfolio page.

Recent Work Shows Healthcare Industry Is a Bright Spot in Economy

Recent Work Shows Healthcare Industry Is a Bright Spot in Economy 789 444 DMR Architects

DMR is currently working on five new, upgraded or repurposed healthcare spaces, a bright spot in real estate development during an uncertain economic time. The projects consist of addressing equipment upgrades, operational needs, and a focus shift to a higher degree of attention to the patient experience with four of New Jersey’s largest healthcare systems.

“Our healthcare clients are actively working to shift patient perceptions of their spaces from clinical, scary places that are almost seen as transactional to calming, welcoming, and experiential self-care activities,” said Pradeep Kapoor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C.  “Healthcare facilities are like any other business, creating a welcoming and personalized environment will ensure repeat visits for everything from preventative to specialty care.”

Projects currently on the boards include:

  • A relocation of the cardiology department at St. Peter’s University Hospital to accommodate for new equipment.
  • A redesign of the Department of Surgery, also at St. Peter’s University Hospital, to accommodate growth/increased in-office services with nine exam rooms, three consultant rooms, and four stations of documentation and staff office/registration.
  • The expansion of the Heart and Vascular Center at Hunterdon Healthcare‘s Bridgewater location by repurposing three exam rooms in an adjacent suite.
  • A relocation of Valley Hospital‘s Primary Urgent Care Center facility in Dumont so that it can continue to meet patients’ needs in a modernized space.
  • A finish upgrade to the lobby of Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, part of the Hackensack Meridian Health system, to provide a warm and welcoming environment.

Integrity Health Cuts the Ribbon on Partnership Health Center in Brick

Integrity Health Cuts the Ribbon on Partnership Health Center in Brick 789 444 DMR Architects

On March 2 Integrity Health cut the ribbon on their newest Partnership Health Center, an on-site healthcare office, at the Warren H. Wolf Elementary School in Brick.

DMR designed the project in approximately 7,000 square feet, converting five existing classrooms and connecting corridor spaces into a new Partnership Health Center, an on-site healthcare office where members of the board of education can receive primary care, pharmacy, laboratory and physical therapy services in one location. The space includes general exam rooms, a procedure room, X-Ray equipment, lab and blood draw, pharmacy, physical therapy, behavioral health and staff support spaces and offices.

Founded by Doug Forrester, Integrity Health teams up with employers to find and renovate space in existing, employer-owned buildings for Partnership Health Centers, where members can receive routine medical services in one location. The services are provided without fees or deductibles and are available only to members and their dependents, resulting in convenient and fast routine medical services.

Hunterdon Ambulatory Surgery Center

Hunterdon Healthcare Opens Ambulatory Surgery Center

Hunterdon Healthcare Opens Ambulatory Surgery Center 789 444 DMR Architects

On June 14 DMR joined Hunterdon Healthcare for the ribbon cutting of the new Ambulatory Surgery Center at the healthcare system’s Bridgewater facility, the second phase of a project that transformed a former Bank of America building into medical office space.

“While healthcare system expansion is now becoming the norm, Hunterdon Healthcare was ahead of the curve, recognizing and responding to changing residential patterns years ago,” Lloyd A.  Rosenberg, AIA. “New Jersey residents are moving farther out from urban and suburban areas where a high quality of life is more affordable, and businesses of all kinds are smart to expand or move close to potential customers, or in this case, patients.”

“Patients shop around for healthcare the same way they do for other products and services,” he added. “We’re reimagining spaces to support Hunterdon Healthcare’s goal to provide personalized care in easily accessible office spaces.”

This project is DMR’s latest in a thriving portfolio for the rapidly-expanding Hunterdon Healthcare system, a portfolio which also includes the imaging center, a third phase, at the Bridgewater facility; two phases that brought pediatrics, podiatry, behavioral health and other specialties to the system’s facility in Hawk Pointe; and a family practice to the system’s Hickory Run Medical Office Building in Califon. DMR also previously completed the Maternity and Newborn Care Unit at the Flemington facility.

Six Factors to Consider When Making Healthcare Build/Retrofit Decisions

Six Factors to Consider When Making Healthcare Build/Retrofit Decisions 960 540 DMR Architects

Finance leaders in the healthcare sector should be aware that the actual budget for adding to an existing building can far exceed the contractor’s bid once additional costs are added.

By Lloyd A. Rosenberg, AIA

Many hospital administrators find themselves contemplating if they should build on campus or retrofit or move physicians into new spaces in response to the many changes in healthcare today, including hospital mergers and expansions, technology implementations, value-based care, and changing patient demographics and needs.

That decision involves many factors, from obvious issues such as cost to more obscure considerations such as hospitals’ and health systems’ reach in their communities. Here are six areas hospital leaders should consider when deciding how to expand their facilities.


The architect should provide examples of costs for similar facilities so that hospital leaders can consider all costs, not just the price per square foot for construction.

The actual budget for adding to an existing building can far exceed the contractor’s bid once additional costs are added, including permits, new heating and cooling systems to accommodate the extra space, and other costs associated with construction. Hospital leaders should talk with all the experts—the contractor, architect, electrician, lawyer—to determine what other costs are involved and what items might not be part of the bid.

The architect may not be able to provide a standard check list, because every project comes with its own unique challenges, but hospital leaders should expect that the assigned team of architects has experience on similar projects.


Many hospitals are feeling the need to compete for patients throughout the state, making reach into other counties a necessity. For example, Hunterdon Healthcare’s main hospital is in Flemington, N.J., Hunterdon County, but hospital leaders were interested in expanding the health system’s services into neighboring Somerset County. They recently opened a renovated 55,000 square foot, three-story building that provides the services of Hunterdon Cardiovascular Associates, Hunterdon Heart and Vascular Center of Bridgewater, Hunterdon Urological Associates, Hunterdon Healthcare Center for Endocrine Health, and Hunterdon Healthcare Physical and Occupational Therapy.  The result is convenience for current and new patients who live in Somerset County needing services and treatments closer to home.


With many procedures that once required overnight stays now being done on an outpatient basis, some hospitals have surplus space that can be repurposed.

One example is St. Peters Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., which recently refurbished its dialysis lab into admissions, financial advising, and phlebotomy. The relocation and consolidation of these three departments next to the main lobby offers convenience for patients because they typically access those services at the beginning of their hospital stay. In addition, the change allowed for more space and patient privacy, adding to patient satisfaction.

Similarly, new technologies often take up less space, giving hospitals room to reorganize. Even the equipment that was designed around a few years ago has become obsolete. For example, after 15 years, Robert Wood Johnson Health System redesigned a project to accommodate newer, updated technologies.

Interconnectivity of Practices

New construction or retrofit decisions should also include consideration of which practices and administrative services should be together, and which might function more effectively away from the rest of the main building. Placing administrative staff who work directly with patients in the same building as the practices they serve offer convenience and efficiency to patients and staff.

Similarly, providing space for complementary practices, such as housing physical therapy and neurology staff with orthopedists in the same facility, makes it easier for patients to get to their appointments and for physicians to work together to handle patients’ health needs holistically.

Robert Wood Johnson recently redesigned the 3,500 square foot first floor of its Somerset Street medical office building in New Brunswick, N.J., in order to better serve patients by relocating the obstetrics/gynecology and orthopedics offices from the main hospital. Since these services are done on an out-patient basis only, giving them their own space removed the need for patients to find parking and walk through the main building for short visits.  The new facility will include a reception and waiting area for patients, five exam rooms, an X-ray room, and physicians’ and staff offices.

Relationship with Community

Because of increasing life spans, more people are in need of geriatric care, bringing medical practitioners and caretakers out of the hospital and office environment and into the communities. Off-campus space can play an important role in a hospital’s commitment to continue to be part of the healthcare team for this demographic.

These spaces are often off-site and can be in different counties and regions, adding new buildings and staff to the budget.

Transportation and Parking

Once a hospital decides that it is time to expand off-campus, location, as with any real estate decision, is the most important feature of a building. The architect and planner are great resources to help hospital leaders find a location that patients — current and new — can get to easily, either on their own or via public transportation.

This article originally appeared in the Healthcare Financial Management Association Strategic Financial Planning newsletter.