Its roof slopes jauntily, its windows reflect irregular patterns. The design
of Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center is intended to play off the rugged,
mountains that surround it.
With exposed steel, stone, wood and glass and a warmly lit, high-ceilinged
lobby complete with fireplace and mountain views, the building pays homage
to a Montana aesthetic akin to ski and hunting lodges. It was designed
to blend in with its surroundings, a building appropriate to its environs
with modern overtones to illustrate the up-to-date technology inside the hospital.
Big Sky Medical Center was designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, based
in Minneapolis. HGA was selected based on their extensive experience designing
rural medical facilities. The goal was to create a healthcare facility
with a modern Montana architectural style that would sustain and grow
with community service needs far into the future.
Big Sky Fire and Summit Air Ambulance (now Reach Air Ambulance) personnel
helped design some of the most functional parts of the building. The size
and approach of the ambulance bay allows inbound patients to be unloaded
in a protected area. Summit's pilots conducted test maneuvers to pinpoint
the optimal location for the helipad.
Environmental efficiency and sustainability also were paramount. The primary
heating and cooling source is geothermal with supplemental propane. Emergency
diesel generators provide backup, required for a 24/7/365 hospital operating
with northern-tier climatic conditions.
At the heart of functionality is concern for patients. The inpatient wing
on the south side of the hospital was situated for quiet ambience, taking
advantage of serene views of the South and West Forks of the Gallatin
River. A private courtyard also incorporates nature as part of the healing