AKA: Franciscan Health System, Saint Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma, WA ; St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma, WA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - hospitals

Designers: Anderson, Birkeland, Anderson, and Mast (ABAM), Engineers (firm); Goldberg, Bertrand, Associates (firm); Arthur R. Anderson (civil engineer); Thomas Anderson (engineer); Halvard Wessel Birkeland (architect); Bertrand Goldberg (architect); Robert F. Mast (engineer)

Dates: constructed 1975

9 stories

1717 South J Street
Tacoma, WA 98405-4933

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Building History

The flamboyant design, with its undulating reinforced concrete shape, white color and porthole windows, was done by the Chicago architect, Bertrand Goldberg (1913–1997). The building stood 9 stories tall when first built. Goldberg also designed the Prentice Women's Hospital at Northwestern University (1975), which shared a number of formal similarities to Saint Joseph. Both hospitals consisted of rounded room blocks (with round or oval windows) set on rectilinear, multi-story bases.

Originally, Saint Joseph Hospital and Health-Care Center held 260 beds. By 2007, Saint Joseph had expanded to become a 320-bed medical center part of the Franciscan Health System. Five years, later the bed count had risen to 343.

Building Notes

The Saint Joseph Hospital #3 appeared on the cover of the engineering textbook Statics and Strength of Materials, Sixth Edition by H.W. Morrow and Robert P. Kokernak. It said of the cover illustration: "The versatility and strength of concrete as a building material is clearly demonstrated by the St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. Completed in 1974, this 13-floor structure exhibits a timeless elegance as conceived by its designer, Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg, and features a unique earthquake-resisting system between the base and tower. Evan after the 6.8 magnitude Nisqually Earthquake that shook the Puget Sound area in 2001, the facility remains undamaged." (See H.W. Morrow and Robert P. Kokernak, Statics and Strengths of Materials, Sixth Edition, [Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2007], front and inside back cover.)

Tel: 253.426.4101 (2012).

PCAD id: 7971