Evidence-Based Design

Over the last few years, MMA has turned much of its attention to National Medical and Healthcare Industries. Our Evidence Based Design (EBD) thought process was a perfect fit for the emerging health care industry of tomorrow. This is the process of basing decisions off the already built environment(to only improve what is already there) to performing credible research to achieve the best possible outcome, for a new project or an existing one.

MMA has set itself apart from all other design firms with its depth, breadth, and critique of evidence-based literature. As hospitals grow incrementally over time, healthcare needs, coupled with site limitations, present new and unique challenges for every expansion. Many large hospital spaces are not designed or used as effectively as they could be. This ineffective design leads to inefficient use of staff time and ultimately decline of patient care. 

MMA is skilled at designing technologically complex environments in antiquated space and configuring optimal solutions under difficult constraints. MMA’s designs put staff, operational, and economy of scale efficiencies first. This, in turn, leads to healthier and happier patients.



Challenges: A challenge faced in the recent past was how the newly emerging Walmart Health could utilize its retail know-how to design an integrated and consumer friendly experience. The primary goal was to provide a very diverse set of services under one roof giving Walmart customers, patients, associates and their families the opportunity to easily access what they need, whenever they need it. 


Solutions: This was achieved by MMA, with now multiple, fully functioning Health Clinics, with many more already in development nationally. This convenience will truly be a groundbreaking maneuver in the Healthcare Industry, and MMA is prepared with our EBD methods to tackle and oncoming challenges we may face.


Introducing the hyperpod

A Revolutionary Concept

In the ever-changing climate of Healthcare design and development, one aspect stands out as a true challenge to any Owner. How do you meet your census needs with ever increasing room size requirements and only a limited amount of space to expand? 

MMA was recently tasked with the challenge of designing a new 60 bed ICU in an existing space that conventionally could only support 40 beds. MMA’s design team culled from its vast database of research and evidence-based design calculations and came to one conclusion. It was possible. The design was coined the HYPERPOD™.

This design effectively reduced the linear footage requirements along an outside wall by up to 35%, while still meeting the code-driven natural light requirements to patients. By using internal “lightscapes”, a small room designed to pass light to another room, MMA was able to fit 8 rooms in the space that could originally only support 5. 

The design of this concept additionally allowed for increased staff productivity by allowing a single nurse to comfortably monitor 4 or even 8 rooms with a minimal amount of walking. Each HYPERPOD™ consists of 4 rooms served by a single access hallway or portal. Patients may be observed either from this portal for from nurse landing stations along the main corridor.

MMA Medical facilities

When asked by St. Mary’s to demonstrate their unique problem-solving abilities, MMA responded with an intensive 3-week charette. MMA’s response revitalized a stalled master planning effort launched by another healthcare architect that drug on for over a year without a consensus being reached. The result was a bold imaginative design that completely revitalized the St. Mary’s image, bolstered morale and enabled a CEO decision to move forward.

MMA’s master plan concept provides for 120,000 new square feet without the loss of a parking spot, reconfigures outpatient traffic patterns for customer-oriented service, and provides the latest in healing healthcare environments.

When asked by St. Mary’s to redesign for a change in operational birthing concepts, MMA responded with an even more vigorous three-week effort than the previous LDR effort. The new design yielded greater program advantages than the original design including more square feet without a budget increase.

MMA’s continued investigation and understanding of the issues facing St. Mary’s since the original three-week master solutions exercise allowed MMA to sharpen their pencils and create an even better benefit for the dollar. The result is a state of the art LDRP Women’s and NICU Center that is destined to gain St. Mary’s a strategic marketplace advantage in those service lines.

“I’ve participated in hundreds of architect presentations to hospital boards, MMA’s presentation is the only one I can recall where the Committee and Physicians applauded upon conclusion ” ~ Judy Smith, National Birthing Consultant`.

Student Health Elevated UGA’s recently completed $17 million expansion and renovation to their comprehensive student health services facility will make it one the largest in the nation. MMA was commissioned to identify various alternatives to help meet growing demand and to develop a whole new image for one the most important emerging East Campus gateways. 

MMA developed detailed conceptual options up to F (any of which would have solved the functional and space challenges) but Option C best met the University President and Administrations identity and corner resolution vision. MMA resynthesized and corrected detailed space programming prepared by a previous architect.

$17 million student center recently completed on time and on budget. 110,000 square foot comprehensive health services facility comprised of office-based, ambulatory and outpatient care environments and is JCAHO certified. According to Dr. Jean Chin, MD, MBA, Director: “MMA solved what we thought was an unsolvable problem”. MMA’s scope formulation, budgeting and programming accuracies yielded a final deviation of only 200 sf from the original conceptual phase program prepared by MMA.

MMA has set itself apart from all other design firms with it’s depth, breadth, and critique of evidence-based literature. As hospitals grow incrementally over time, healthcare needs, coupled with site limitations present new and unique challenges for every expansion. Many large hospital spaces are not designed or used as effectively as they could be.

Wayfinding clarity, discreet mental health and health promotion settings and built-in ability to expand are several hallmarks of the new design. New and improved fast track and emergent care functionality, security, quality control and error reduction objectives in key clinical settings were several core design prerequisites. Environments improve staff morale, utilization and efficiency, customer satisfaction and are great places to work. The Women’s Clinic Nurse Manager said it best: ‘The renovations are functionally perfect’.


St. Joseph’s/ Candler Health System, Savannah, Georgia a leading Magnet healthcare provider in a rapidly expanding market. The 2 hospital system contacted MMA to design their new flagship state of the art Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit as the first phase of improvements to the entire neurosurgical service line. 

The design incorporates all of the leading patient care and family design features and is configured for future growth. Located at the front door to the hospital, the new design will establish an aesthetic platform from which subsequent projects will borrow from to begin the modernization of the 60’s era plant.

Rooftop addition on facility not structured for vertical expansion

A previous architect master planner devised plans on the assumption that existing facilities were designed for future vertical expansion. The Owner developed project implementation plans and capital expenditure budgets based on those recommendations. When MMA was commissioned to design the first phase of a complete neurosciences services overhaul they immediately conducted an in-depth survey of existing conditions including deep piling investigations that confirmed that the existing 1960 era facilities were not structured for vertical expansion.

MMA’s expertise in configuring optimal solutions under difficult constraints enabled the Owner to move forward with a rooftop expansion even under stringent seismic and hurricane forces. The new NICU design is extremely efficient, flexible and is designed to work integrally with the Phase 2 step down Neuroscience

Low Cost/ Major Improvement

$300k yielded a complete functional reconfiguration of Candler Hospital’s 60,000-visit ED front door. No loss of existing functioning space was necessary for MMA to figure out how to meet increased patient volumes in tight quarters. The complex 3 phase project occurred in the midst of 24-hour ongoing operations. Custom tailored Triage, intake and discharge processes, improved ambulance traffic flow, improved staff station visibility /functionality are embodied in the design concept. 

MMA provided the client with several options to choose from then worked with staff to design functionality down to the ‘J number’ printer. The staff could not believe how much larger the nurse’s area felt and how a 3 fold increase in Triage space was achieved within existing constraints.

St. Joseph’s/ Candler Hospital showcases the abilities to expand and grow as well as being an integral part of the local healthcare and wellness system. The additional construction to this site will further improve the lives, living and working conditions for all patients and hospital staff in addition to promoting an ever-improving environment.


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During his tenure at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and after earning his Bachelor of Architecture, Tom has spent close to Thirty Years in planning, design, construction and contract administration for a wide range of large and small-scale projects. He joined the company in early 1997 and as one of MMA’s Principals, he has been responsible for overseeing the growth and success of the educational design studio for the last two decades. His responsibilities include contract generation, establishing budgets for hard and soft costs, design consultant coordination, and overseeing construction administration and project close-out. Tom attributes his success to his attention to detail, and his ability to work effectively with all stakeholders.