Sacred Heart on the Gulf Hospital

Over the last 3 and a half years I have worked as a designer and project manager for DAG Architects. One of the first major projects I had the opportunity to work on was a brand new 25 bed hospital in the city of Port St. Joe. What was really exciting about the project is I was afforded the roll of lead designer. What was even more exciting was I not only helped in developing the buildings aesthetic and design direction but also was heavily involved in the documentation of the project too. Of course no architectural endeavor is about one person. There was many people involved from our Principal in Charge – Roger Godwin, Project manager – Chris Tyner, and documentation support from Jason Stringer and Peder Bruce. This of course doesn’t even cover the client site nor the contractor side of the work and man power it took for the hospital to become a reality.

After almost 3 years from our first design sketches to the opening of the hospital, February of this year, I was asked by my firm to capture images of the hospital for the firm’s marketing use. I was honored and of course excited to have the chance to shoot the project and to finally get to see it in person.

While in Port St. Joe to shoot the hospital I was also in town for pre-construction meetings for the Medical Office Building (MOB) in which I was designer and project manager for. This building is under construction as we speak and should be near completion in the fall of this year. Here is a quick rendering I put together of the design as I was finishing up documentation of the project.

Back to shooting the hospital…

I had a day and a half to complete the shoot. The first day when I arrived in Port St. Joe was really about scouting out the project and getting a feel for angles to shoot and so forth. The next morning I had hoped to get a head start and get some early morning shots with the sun coming up. I woke up nice and early (which for me is a feat in itself) and was confronted with the densest fog I’ve seen in a long long time 🙁 So much for that, huh? Thankfully, by 10:30 or 11, the sun had burned off the fog and my shooting could start. One of the key shots I was trying to capture was a particular angle. while developing the hospital design our intent was about the entry to the hospital and the presence of that as you arrive. When presenting to the client the design this was an important “imagery” we consistently showed. As you will see pictured here is a sequence of a Sketchup developed 3D model (rendered in Kerkythia), a professional watercolor rendering (rendered by David Hartley), and then one of the photos from the shoot I took.

As the day went on, and getting sidetracked with meetings, I was finally able to get to the interiors to shoot some of the main spaces in the hospital. The hospital had just opened while I was there and so, even though it was on the quiet side, the hospital was very conscious of me not capturing patience in any of the pictures. This of course led to some limitations, but overall the hospital was very accommodating in letting us get the shots we needed to get. The main spaces I was able to capture were the main Lobby, the cafeteria, the front “public” corridor (with a long transparent glass wall that you see along the front of the building pictured above), and the courtyard space that gives a nice indoor/outdoor connection from the cafe to the patient wing across the way.

On the technical side I shot most of the exterior daytime shots with a B+W polarizer filter on and switched between my 17-40mm L and 24-105mm L lenses (both with were able to take the filter with a 77mm mount). I was also conscious of making sure I had a tight aperture to gain as much clarity on the shots as I was trying to achieve a high depth of field. The interior shots I was shooting all wide, using the 17-40, and was shooting 3 exposures per shot. There was a lot of daylight coming through the spaces, which is a good thing, but also made for some challenging shooting without the help of supplemental lighting. I had to do a lot of post in order to balance out the light temps and exposures to get the shot to come out the way I wanted them to. For the evening shots, like the first shot above, I had a decent sky to work with but really could have use some foreground fill lighting or done some light “painting”. Overall I’m not as excited about my evening shots, and this is probably one the first shoots I have done on contract that I felt my evening shots were the weaker of the work produced.

The one thing I regret on this shoot was having the opportunity to stage my shots more. Being as we were shooting the project while it was open and functioning I did not bring any lights or supplemental lighting. This project would of been great if I had had that opportunity, but you have to deal with what you are given and overall I’m very happy with the results… Hopefully, from the shots I’m posting here you will agree 🙂

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  1. […] while back I blogged about shooting some shots a new hospital in Port St. Joe for the Sacred Heart Hospital System. Before design of that project took place we put together a master plan of the property that the […]

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