Public gets look at new Houston Medical Center tower, lobby

WARNER ROBINS — The new main lobby of the Houston Medical Center has the feel of a big-city convention hotel. There’s a coffee shop, a cafe, a sweeping information desk with water streaming down glass behind it.

The lobby is the gateway to the hospital’s state-of-the-art Northwest Tower, which opens for patients this month. Sunday, its four floors were open to the public for tours.

Houston Healthcare CEO Skip Philips said the building’s architects fashioned a design that is both “calming and soothing.”

Many of the $56 million, 102-room facility’s hallways feature indirect lighting. Music plays on speakers in the lobby. Colors — muted yellows, beiges — are as welcoming as interiors at an upscale spa. Philips said the idea was “to make it inviting.”

“It’s a statement, hopefully, not only for our community, but for our team,” he said. “We want people to be proud of their health care ... a place where they’ll feel comfortable. This first floor is kind of an area to have an escape.”

Philips said the new tower, the crown jewel of many renovation and construction projects in recent years, “kind of brings everything together.”

The new wing, which took about two years to build, sits facing Watson Boulevard on land where Central Baptist Church once stood. Hospital officials say it is now the tallest building in the city.