Before the first sketch was made, the staff of the Maxine Mesinger Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine, The Methodist Hospital and FKP Architects met with patients and their families to design a clinic especially for them.

We talked about creating a restful, healing environment and what architectural elements, finishes and fabrics would create that environment, said Linda Bishop, vice president and director of design for interiors at FKP Architects. We decided to focus on the healing powers of light and water.

Bishop also visited Emil Mesinger in the home he and Maxine shared. I wanted to capture Maxine's spirit and continued love of life despite the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis and find a way to bring that spirit into the space, Bishop said.

The architects designed a modern space featuring soft curves and elements evoking the flow of water and power of light. Rippled glass in the curved wall at the main entrance sets the tone for the clinic. Inside, the circular reception area is paneled in maple and carpeted in sage green. A domed ceiling bathes the reception area in soft blue light. Special finishes include hand-made paper, silk wall coverings and glass mosaic tiles. The patients and their families also requested flexibility in the seating arrangements so those who are wheelchair bound could be seated with their families. Custom back cushions were specially designed to help patients with muscle control problems sit upright.

The designers continued the use of soft colors in clinic rooms, painting them soft white with an accent wall of lavender. Privacy curtains repeat the nature patterns used in the reception area.

The final design captures the needs and hopes of individuals with MS, said Victor Rivera, MD, professor of neurology and medical director of the clinic.