The Jacobs Medical Center at the University of California, San Diego campus—a sinuous hospital tower complex by the Yazdani Studio at CannonDesign—is out to change the future of architecture for patient-centered medical care facilities. The new 509,500-square-foot medical complex was created, according to Mehrdad Yazdani, design principal for the studio, to meet a trifecta of needs: improving patient and family care, adapting to technological innovation, and providing an intimate relationship between interior spaces and the outdoors. The curvilinear, fritted glass–wrapped 245-bed hospital tower works to unify these concerns by merging three specialty centers— high-risk obstetrics and neonatal care, cancer care, and advanced surgical care—into a vertically integrated campus that preserves open ground-floor areas as therapeutic gardens. According to Yazdani, the complex was designed with an eye toward the “impact nature can have on the healing process,” and, as a result, many of the ten-story tower’s interior spaces—including surgery rooms—connect directly to exterior views via porous and blob-shaped floor plates. Each level connects directly to either planted terraces or internal courtyards as well, with each floor wrapped in a continuous band of ribbon windows overlooking the landscape. The landscape architecture was designed by Pamela Burton & Company as a set of wide-open paths that thread together outdoor garden rooms to create “wellness walks” that can be integrated into the recovery process. These areas feature an olive grove, a collection of linear gardens, and water-retention basins lined with drought-tolerant plantings. Though verdantly focused in nature, the Jacobs Medical Center also pushes the envelope in terms of technological integration. The complex comes outfitted with a state-of-the-art air filtration system that allows transplant patients to leave their recovery rooms to visit the hospital’s dedicated inpatient gym, an arrangement that, according to the architects, can improve recovery times. Unlike other gargantuan medical facilities, the complex is “much more than a $943 million exercise in resolving technical challenges,” Carlos Amato, project architect at CannonDesign, explained. Instead, the design teams opted to unify pragmatic and visionary concerns around the healing process. That explains the building’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls, which come fritted with parametrically calibrated patterns designed to optimize solar infiltration while minimizing glare. The thinking also guided the design of ground-floor areas, which weave in and out of the landscape to create a generous and visually porous 8,000-square-foot entry lobby containing a gym, yoga studio, and demonstration kitchen as well as receiving areas and an auditorium. The entry level spreads out along two lobes that open up onto healing gardens, with administration areas and an imaging wing located to one side where the tower’s four internal courtyards reach the ground. These courtyards connect down to a basement-level research lab, bringing light as well as views into what would typically be a hospital’s deepest and darkest recesses, Yazdani explained before adding, “Isn’t it great when you can see the sky from inside a building?”
Posts tagged with "Hospitals":
After an arduous journey, Steven Holl's Maggie's Centre is finally open. The new $10 million London care center, as with all Maggie’s Centres, will offer free emotional and practical support to cancer patients. This particular center, however, was marred by controversy—not something you would expect from a building designed to help sick people. The center is the latest for Maggie's, the charity founded by Charles Jencks in 1995 after his wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks, died of cancer. The couple believed in the uplifting power of architecture and have since installed more than 20 centers across the world, the majority of which are in the U.K. Nestled into a neoclassical enclave on the grounds of St. Bartholomew's Hospital in central London, Holl's Maggie's Center very nearly never happened. For his design to be built, a rudimentary brick building from the 1960s had to come down. But that wasn’t the issue. Instead, the project’s adversaries argued that the new center didn’t connect with its surroundings. This is nothing new with Maggie’s Centers across the U.K., even though Jencks has previously enlisted architecture’s A-list to design the structures, which are independent from nearby hospitals. Jencks has tapped Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas, and soon Daniel Libeskind, with a center in Hampstead. A page from Charles Jencks’ The Architecture of Hope: Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres shows the site plan of all centers (before Holl’s was built). Here we can see green cytoplasm shrouding the Maggie’s Center nuclei; almost all the centers are one story and are surrounded by a protective grass lawn. On such a tight site, there was no room for greenery, on the ground level at least. The first Maggie’s Center to reach three stories, Holl’s design incorporates a roof garden overlooking a centuries-old quadrangle that includes the 1740s church of St. Bartholomew-the-Less. In a recent lecture at the World Architecture Festival, British architect and planner Sir Terry Farrell referenced Frank Gehry’s center in Dundee, Scotland (full disclosure: I work in communications at Farrell's firm). He argued that the building exacerbated the dichotomy between the brilliantly designed and the under-designed. Who wouldn’t want a pristine lawn to protect from the encroaching drab contemporary hospital vernacular? At St. Bartholemew’s, which is Europe's oldest hospital, such banal healthcare architecture cannot be found. Despite this, Holl's Maggie’s Center is at peace with its neighbors. After calls for modifications, the center shares a basement, toilets, and elevators with the adjacent 18th century Great Hall, a landmarked work of architect James Gibbs. Even these changes were nearly not enough. Holl's design scraped through the second round of planning by one vote and even after that, a lawsuit was filed against the planners. "I flew in from New York and they gave me three minutes in a courtroom. That was it!" Holl recalled, laughing. Wrapping the building is a facade that at night reveals the squares of color embedded, offering a hazy glow. During the day, this color palette is significantly muted and the glass skin is more of a misty gray. Outside, visitors can also see a rounded corner design, which is mirrored inside by a bamboo staircase that traces the perimeter as it winds upward. Holl calls this the “basket” and a “vessel within a vessel within a vessel,” a reference to the concrete structural shell that lies between the glass and bamboo. No attempt has been made to hide this structure, and the result is a pleasing display of both tectonics and tactile design in harmony. According to the Holl, the glass is a new invention. Comprising two layers of insulation, the embedded color film channels light out at night and blurs it during the day. The colored squares are also a reference to Medieval music's "neume notation." “It couldn’t be glossy!” exclaimed Holl. “There are too many glass buildings today.” The architect continued: "Jencks thinks I'm a postmodernist, however, this building is for architecture a manifesto for the expression of materials; [it stands] against everything pomo was." “In my 40 years of practice, this is one of my favorite buildings I’ve ever done,” Holl said.
The Max Factor Building—built in 1974 by A.C. Martin & Associates as an extension to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles—has never really been well-loved. The forlorn hospital complex is made up of a trio of institutional towers placed atop a pair of parking structures that are arranged around what should be a courtyard but is actually a five-lane boulevard that delves underneath the main tower. In a 1992 review of complex for The Los Angeles Times, critic Aaron Betsky described the black glass and limestone-clad structures as an example of “purposeful blandness” and labeled the hospital an “anti-urban bunker of bad form.” Flash forward to 2017: The towers remain unchanged in their appearance but stand renewed along the podium terraces that flank either side of Gracie Allen Drive, where AHBE Landscape Architects and Ball-Nogues Studio (BNS) recently completed work on new healing gardens and a pavilion, respectively. According to Calvin Abe, principal at AHBE Landscape Architects, the terraces had been a forgotten public space at the hospital for many years, a fact Abe hoped his interventions could shift by reorienting the way patients and visitors arrived at Cedars, as they made their way from the parking structure to the hospital proper. Benjamin Ball, principal at BNS, explained that the neglected terrace “had not been given much consideration as public place for the hospital” when originally designed, a fact worsened by its sensitive location sandwiched between air intake grilles and operating rooms. The arrangement meant that any construction activity would have to be undertaken rather silently and without generating much dust. To boot, the site’s existing structural arrangement meant that improvements would need to be vigorously studied in order to guarantee that new loads were being resolved without disrupting the podium’s original structural grid. As a result, the project team came to consider the site as more of a performative skin than a static structure. The surface-level project tries to heal the “epidermis of the complex,” as Abe explains, referring to the outermost public region of the hospital, by “grafting a piece of living, breathing landscape above the existing parking decks.” To achieve this goal, the firm re-designed the two terrace areas as a series of multi-functional outdoor garden rooms—what they call “portable gardens” due to the fact that the structural requirements forbade permanent installation of these new planters. Even so, Abe was able to soften the edges of the terraces with wide swaths of tall grasses, wooden boardwalks and benches, and ancillary, succulent-rich beds framed in three eights inch thick stainless steel sheets. Along the north arm of the terrace, sinuous benches made from kiln-dried Brazilian hardwood pop in and out of their surroundings, sometimes nestled into supple berms, at other times sitting proudly under the sun above the boardwalk. The planted areas are mirrored in a more minimal and integrated fashion across the way, where the edges of the wide, wavy beds seamlessly transition from stainless steel border to wooden bench and back again. The north arm of the terrace is organized as a tripartite band of terraces, with a large wooden boardwalk sandwiched between the grassy precipice and succulent bed. At the center of the run, the path bulges out to make room for BNS’s pavilion, a looming husk crafted by humans and CNC machines out of woven networks of stainless steel tubes. Ball explained that his team wanted to contrast the prototypical architecture of the medical towers with a sculptural pavilion that could stand out on the improved terrace. To counter the geometric, stone-clad exposures of the towers, BNS designed a multi-lobed shade structure that would be inspired by self-supported concrete shell structures but be constructed out of CNC-shaped steel tubing. “We tried to develop a language that could only be achieved using this type of machine-shaped caged shell,” Ball explained. Ball described the pavilion as having “no hierarchy in terms of structure,” a quality that would instead be lended by the pavilion’s billowing forms, which themselves were finessed by the quotidien requirements of the structure’s lateral loads. The billowing form wraps over the walkway on one side and frames a smooth, J-shaped bench underneath a parallel and transversal lobe. When seen from the boardwalk, the structures appear squat and wide, a quality that disappears entirely when the pavilion is viewed from the opposite edge, where the shells rise proud of the boardwalk and slip past one another. BNS, working with local fabricator Hensel Phelps, worked to meld into reality a form that not only faithfully represented the computer-generated mass—Rhino and Maya were used, among other programs—but that also reflected what the CNC machines could ultimately produce. Ball explained that the design and fabrication teams had to work iteratively to establish limitations for the structure, adding that the back-and-forth process ultimately “outlined the aesthetics of the project—It created the rule book, not the other way around.” The structure was eventually fabricated off site, assembled in its entirety prior to installation, and finally craned into place. Ultimately, the structure came within a two centimeter tolerance of the digital model, due in equal measure to the digital tools and the highly skilled craftwork of the fabricators. Ball explained finally: “To get a project like this to look polished and highly crafted, you need hand skills.”
Brought to you with support fromThe Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is wrapping up an ambitious four-year $135-million renovation project to transform an existing downtown hospital campus into a fully dedicated, freestanding children’s hospital. The facility remained open throughout an intensive construction process involving interior demolition, relocating care units, exterior shell upgrades, and energy efficiency upgrades. A recladding concept, which extends the interior rebranding to the facade, is the most visible component of the project. The color palette is derived from a local artist’s mural on the existing structure became the basis for a rebranding strategy that seeks to improve visitor’s experience of the campus by benefitting the healing process and improving wayfinding. Colors are distributed onto the facade through a series of custom unitized channel glass assemblies that were the result of a close collaboration between Overland Partners, Bendheim Wall Systems, and Sharp Glass. The existing structure consists of five-foot concrete wings that extend out from the building envelope. With restrictive load limits and limited space for installation and maintenance, the design needed to be lightweight and convenient to assemble. Also, the team required a solution that could be manufactured in a range of custom colors, visible at long distances day and night. The project team developed a unitized modular strategy to consolidate three channel glass shapes into an extruded framework. Bendheim modified one of its existing systems to allow the glazer to preassemble the units in its shop so that the glass was bonded to both a head and sill extrusion. To ensure individual glass pieces did not make contact, the channels were set with a quarter-inch gap filled with a silicone backer rod and sealed with a translucent silicone. These units were harnessed together with a removable frame system developed by Bendheim in close collaboration with the architect and the glass installer. This allowed the units to be brought from the shop to the hospital, then strapped and hoisted into place by a three-person crew on each floor who would swing the unit into place. Units were lifted up into a pre-mounted head receptor and loaded onto an “elevator platform” that could be adjusted vertically to accommodate tolerance and deflection in the existing construction. This detail allows for movement over time without putting the glass units at risk. The adjustable, unitized system allowed the glazer to install, on average, an entire floor per day. Kris Feldmann, lead architect at Overland Partners, said that the value engineering presented a design management challenge to the project: “We saw the channel glass feature as something that was just as critical to the rebranding of the hospital and the work they were doing on the interior. One of the challenges of any project like this is that it is a very easy thing to remove as project budgets evolve. Having the owner’s confidence—because we had worked closely with the contractor, sub-contractor, and Bendheim—was really critical to keeping it on the project." The quarter-inch channel glass includes a ceramic frit that produces a unique translucent finish, allowing for sunlight penetration and providing a soft glow to patient rooms. At night, integrated programmable LED lights provide accent lighting for the facade. Several full-size panels were produced in a mock up to allow the team to confirm desired lighting details prior to construction. The units appear to be the same height from the exterior, but field-verified dimensions confirmed each floor height varied by several inches. This required every unit to be individually measured and coded by Bendheim to confirm a custom fit, and accurate color as specified by the architect. Beyond this colorful additive layer, most of the existing facade remained in place. The exterior shell includes replacement insulated glazing units and an interlocking metal panel exterior wall finish. Replacement windows consist of interior glazed window units to avoid having to re-scaffold the entire building as floors became open for construction. While the exterior is substantially complete, some components of the project remain under construction, including exterior gardens that feature culinary, play, and prayer programming.
A proposed development in the middle of Staten Island could put the borough at the forefront of healthcare design. Borough President James Oddo, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Ram Raju, and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer were at the Old Sea View Hospital campus to reveal plans for Sea View Healthy Community, a mixed-use development that focuses on chronic disease treatment and prevention. The first of its kind in New York City, and the first publicly funded mixed-use health development in the country, Sea View Healthy Community will be constructed on the grounds of largely abandoned Old Sea View Hospital. The development will feature housing for seniors and people with disabilities, and existing medical tenants will enjoy upgraded facilities, plus a new "wellness center" designed for physical and occupational therapy. Patients, residents, and visitors will be able to dine at farm-to-table restaurants or purchase groceries from on-site stores that specialize in healthful and local food. Bike paths and hiking trails will link up with the adjacent Staten Island Greenbelt. “Sea View Healthy Community is not just the first health-focused, mixed-use campus in the city, it will be the first publicly planned and supported healthy community in the country,” said Torres-Springer. “And what better place to build it than the Sea View campus, which pioneered a holistic approach to healthcare for previous generations of New Yorkers. This extraordinary project will improve the quality of life for thousands of Staten Islanders, and keep New York City as a national leader in pioneering approaches to public health." The hospital, which opened in 1913 to help tuberculosis patients heal in a bucolic setting, sits across the street from the Landmark Colony, a former city-run poor farm that is being converted into senior living complex by Staten Island–based vengoechea + boyland architects. Today, both sites are part of the New York City Farm Colony-Seaview Hospital Historic District. The city will make capital funds available for infrastructure improvements on the 90-acre campus. Any development at the hospital must first garner Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval, but the commission is not opposed to new construction: In March of this year, the LPC okayed plans for a two-story building for the nonprofit Meals on Wheels on-site. Later this year, NYCEDC is set to release a formal Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to solicit development proposals that align with the master plan.
In the 1970s I was a project architect for the New York–based architectural firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, (HHPA) and worked on a medical clinic for the Cummins Engine Company called the Columbus Occupational Health Association (COHA). It won a national AIA Honor Award in 1976 and served its client for over 40 years. Now the building is for sale. In the 1960s, in a small town in Indiana, a seed of design excellence was planted. As a patron of modern architecture, J. Irwin Miller had a goal to make Columbus, “the very best community of its size in the country.” “We would like to see it become the city in which the smartest, the ablest, the best young families anywhere would like to live,” he said. The result was a small Midwestern city filled with buildings designed by a who’s who of American architecture including, Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Kevin Roche, Richard Meier, Harry Weese, César Pelli, Gunnar Birkerts, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, and many others. Columbus Occupational Health Association In 1969, HHPA was selected for an outpatient medical clinic to serve Cummins Engine Company and several other industrial firms in the Columbus area. At that time medical clinics and hospitals were intimidating environments, typically a collection of enclosed rooms off of long sterile corridors—places most people were not enthusiastic about visiting. Cummins wanted something new and innovative and commissioned a study by the Kaiser Foundation, which recommended a cooperative health center. The study suggested that the new building might serve as a national model, so Cummins encouraged the architects to contemplate what environments would be appropriate for healthcare delivery in the future. HHPA sought to create an atmosphere of openness, hope, and healing. It analyzed the program and developed spaces organized around open, sloped walkways bathed in natural light from skylights above. Ultimately COHA offered a new paradigm for outpatient healthcare delivery that welcomed patients and staff in a fresh, expressive environment. Instead of hiding technology behind walls and ceilings, the structure and mechanical systems were exposed and celebrated in bright colors. Visitors experienced the whole building giving them an awareness of place. The building, completed in 1973, was selected in 1976 for a national AIA Honor Award. The jury commented: “Careful organization of the ordinary mechanical and structural elements brings interest and excitement to this small health center… a well-organized plan exposes routine medical functions to both patient and technician which relieves the tedium of clinical work and the anxiety of patients.” I visited the building in 2012, and met with several staff members. They were enthusiastic about working there and told me that patients and staff found that most of the original design was still serving their needs. Now the building is for sale. COHA has moved to new quarters, the Columbus Occupational Health Association has evolved, and in mid-June it relocated to downtown Columbus and is now called the Cummins LiveWell Center. An Uncertain Future What does the future hold for the COHA building and why should we care? Besides people’s affection and pleasant memories, why should COHA be saved and why is it important in architectural history? At the time it broke new ground in many ways. It celebrated the functions and technology that made the building work. More importantly, it showed all of us that going to the doctor doesn’t have to be a scary thing. By opening up the inside, bringing in natural light, and allowing patients to see inside technical spaces like the laboratory, COHA taught us that being healthy and caring for our well-being can be an uplifting experience. There’s a famous quote from Winston Churchill, “First we shape our buildings, thereafter, they shape us.” HHPA shaped COHA to be a simple black glass box on the outside with a bold sloped skylight and a dynamic inside, that treated visitors to a potpourri of shapes, colors and spaces. The philosophy of challenging the status quo and reinventing how healthcare is delivered helped make COHA unique. It has influenced how architects design medical buildings and how medical providers interact with their patients. Unfortunately there are no preservation laws in the city of Columbus, Indiana. COHA could be sold and demolished. Or it could be saved and adapted to a new use. Columbus has a strong sense of community and respects its legacy of design excellence. It has created Landmark Columbus, whose mission is, “To care for and celebrate the world-renowned design heritage of the Columbus, Indiana, area.” Richard McCoy, executive director of Landmark Columbus, told me that, “while there is no law to prevent demolition, the community has a voice and it has influence.” The legacy of Miller is now in the hands of Cummins, Inc. Katie Zarich, manager of external communications for Cummins, said: “COHA served Cummins well for several decades… Architecture remains important to Cummins. We are looking for a buyer that will maintain the architectural integrity of the facility.” It is possible to extend the useful life of buildings. It takes energy, vision and commitment. Let’s hope COHA finds itself the recipient of respect from its new owner.
The community is called Serena del Mar, which means Serenity of the Ocean in Spanish. In addition to the hospital, called Centro Hospitalario Serena del Mar, the project will include oceanfront residences, a hotel resort village, a business and commercial district, a golf resort, and an “equestrian village.” Twelve kilometers from the Old City historic district of Cartagena, the planned community is expected to absorb much of the area’s expansion and help the region compete for national and international tourists. Serena del Mar will be organized around a major canal, similar in scale to the Grand Canal in Venice. The centerpiece is a 400-bed hospital, the first designed by Safdie. The main boulevard is modeled after Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, although cars mostly will be banned to the perimeter of the property. The developer is Novus Civitas, headed by one of the wealthiest families in South America. Safdie’s firm, Safdie Architects, is the architect for the hospital and master planner for the ‘Gran Canal’ civic and institutional district within the larger community, according to principal in charge Sean Scensor. EDSA of Florida is the master planner for the rest of Serena del Mar and landscape architect for the hospital and surrounding area, Scensor said. Robert Trent Jones II is the golf course designer. Other architects that have worked on the hospital include Tsoi/Kobus & Associates of Cambridge, Mass., and a local firm in Colombia, Condiseño Arquitectos. Design and planning experts from Johns Hopkins Medicine International in Baltimore consulted with the development team on the design of the hospital, which will be operated by the Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá. Construction began last year on the hospital’s first phase. When complete, the building will have a series of fingers extending toward a lagoon, with outdoor “healing gardens’ in between. The rest of Serena del Mar will follow in phases, and the canal is the “big move” that organizes it, Scensor said. In a promotional video for the community, Safdie, 77, indicated that he drew inspiration from the natural setting and the area’s rich architectural traditions. He said he tried to “capture the experience of the Old City of Cartagena” in the context of modern development. “Somehow I feel that my role is to create an architecture that belongs,” he said. “An architecture that belongs is one which makes those who live there, who are part of the place, feel like this is ours."
It has been 30 years since Montreal has built a new hospital. CannonDesign in association with Montreal based NEUF Architect(e)s, and l’Université de Montreal aim to amend that situation with a new three tower hospital complex. Since its founding in 1995, Centre Hospitalier de Montreal (CHUM) has hoped to consolidate the three hospitals that make up its network: Hotel Dieu, Hopital St. Luc and Hopital Notre-Dame. Overcoming political wrangling and changes of governments, it would be ten years before the two square block site in the heart of the city was settled on and approved. Adjacent to the current Hopital St. Luc, CHUM when complete will be one of the largest academic medical centers in North America. With an estimated cost of over $2 million, the hospital will be the largest public/private partnership building project in North America. With a goal of engaging the surrounding community, the complex includes large public gathering spaces, more intimate spaces of contemplation, and monumental art pieces, all in a landscape between three towers. At the heart the project will sit the curvaceous 500-seat auditorium building. The perforated metal clad auditorium forefronts the hospitals role as a center of education and research. CHUM will be the anchor of the Quartier de la Santé — Montreal’s new health district. Its location between two of Montreal’s more dynamic neighborhoods (Vieux Montreal and the Latin Quarter) will also provide active link in area that currently divides the city. The first construction phase, which will include all of the 772 single-patient rooms, as well as the diagnostic and treatment rooms, is set to be completed in fall 2016. The second and final phase should be complete in 2020. Phase Two will include an auditorium and administrative office building.
Designers and doctors know instinctively what science now confirms: design that connects people to light, air, and green space reduces stress and facilitates the healing process. Putting research into action, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's tapped New York's Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects to design the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care at the hospital's main campus in West Philadelphia. Houston-based FKP Architects is the architect of record. The 700,000 square foot outpatient facility is comprised of a rectangular, 12 story main wing, and a connected six story wing of Jetsons-esque stacked floors whose bottoms are painted bright red, yellow, green, and blue. A 14,000 square foot roof garden on the top gives patients access to fresh air and a space to play, while a 2.6 acre ground floor plaza is partially planted with medicinals for complementary therapeutic use. In a statement, founding principal Cesar Pelli noted that "depicting the playfulness of children helps reinforce the idea of a positive medical experience." Inside, playful curvature guides eyes to the outside through banks of glass windows, while ramps and welcoming wayfinding signage guide patients and their families through the facilities. The Buerger Center features spaces unique to children's hospitals, including a mock MRI machine that helps health care workers prepare children for the sometimes claustrophobia-inducing procedures. The facility will serve approximately 200,000 young people annually. Specialties are grouped by level. Levels two through five opened this year, while levels six and seven will open in 2017.
Healthcare in the Indianapolis area is getting a check-up, as a new masterplan seeks to streamline operations at one of South Central Indiana's biggest medical institutions. St. Louis–based HOK is leading the design team, which will take on three big jobs: merging Indiana University Health Methodist and IU Health University hospitals’ adult services into one academic medical campus in downtown Indianapolis; building a new regional academic health campus in Bloomington, Ind.; and bringing women’s services near Riley Hospital for Children closer to IU Health in Indianapolis. The project includes an expansion of IU Health's campus north of Indianapolis' central business district, and improving its connections to Riley Hospital for Children about 1.5 miles to the southwest. Several urban planning overhauls are underway in Indianapolis, including a contentious expansion of public transit.
High performance and cultural relevance meet in concrete, metal, and steel mesh envelope.For the stakeholders involved in building the new Rev. Avery C. Alexander Academic Research Hospital (also known as University Medical Center, or UMC) in downtown New Orleans, the project was about much more than replacing facilities damaged during Hurricane Katrina. "The grander story is the effort to rebuild New Orleans," recalled NBBJ principal Jose Sama. "There was a lot of emotional attachment to the original hospital, Charity Hospital, and also—rightly so—the pride the community has for the character of the city. Everyone wanted to make sure the project was going to be something that was of New Orleans." In a joint venture with Blitch Knevel Architects, NBBJ rose to the challenge with a design that subtly reflects the city's cultural heritage. The building envelope, a combination of precast concrete, metal panels, high performance glazing, and stainless steel mesh, contributed significantly to both the project's aesthetic aspirations and its performance goals. The overarching concept for UMC, explained Sama, was to "create a performance in place." For the architects, "performance" holds a double meaning. "Performance is embedded in [New Orleans] culture, but this is a more high-level sense of performance," said Sama. "Place," in turn, draws on the city's climate and character. "We looked at various clues in the urban environment and how those could affect the design," said Sama, recalling visits to the hospital's Canal Street neighborhood and the French Quarter. Then, of course, there are the environmental threats made all too clear by the Katrina experience. "We completed [the design] with the understanding that we had to create an envelope that could withstand hurricane-force winds and missile impact," said Sama. "That was an important piece of selecting the glass and the curtain wall system." In fact, most of the damage sustained by Charity Hospital was the result of flooding rather than high winds. As a result, the architects faced a mandate to elevate all critical hospital functions above 22 feet. "We envisioned this as a floating hospital," said Sama. "The notion was that the more public zones, the softer spaces like dining, registration, and the lobbies, would occur at the ground level. Then you move up to an elevated plane of critical services. That way they could function regardless of flooding." The building envelope reflects this programmatic move: The first floor of the central campus structure—the diagnostic and treatment center—is wrapped in a transparent curtain wall with a strong emphasis on the horizontal while the upper, critical floors feature a precast concrete facade. The two other project components, the medical office building and the inpatient towers, offer variations on the theme. The former is clad in an insulated metal panel system, the latter in precast concrete, glass, and stainless steel mesh. A number of subtle gestures connect the hospital exterior to New Orleans' history and culture. One thing Sama noticed on his site visits was that "the notion of the garden is important, and the notion of getting outdoors." With that in mind, the architects created a central entry pavilion "designed such that you have a very pronounced sense of entry created by a porch, or a projecting eave—it almost has the effect of a trellis," said Sama. They also created informal gardens wherever possible. The signature garden, nestled between the towers and the diagnostic center, is water-based, and imagines the seating areas as lily pads floating on a pond. "The idea that here in the middle of New Orleans you find a water-intensive garden was really critical," said Sama. The patient towers, too, embody a strong connection to the outdoors via balconies for patients and staff. Metal scrims in Cambridge Architectural's Mid-Balance architectural mesh simultaneously provide aesthetic interest and fall protection. "We studied what we could do with the scrim," said Sama. "We think we picked just the right scale. It's appropriate for someone sitting on the balcony, but also for someone walking by." The mesh panels produce a "soft veil effect," he observed. "In the morning light, it glistens. The intent was to create a memory of Mardi Gras beads, in terms of color and glistening. People will pick up on that different times of day." Cambridge Architectural contributed to several other elements of the project. Mesh fins in the Scale pattern are attached with a custom cable tensioning system to the upper levels of the patient towers, to provide solar shading. On the parking garage portion, designed by Blitz Knevel Architects, 86 panels of Scale mesh again add both visual impact and fall protection without compromising ventilation. On the south elevation of the garage leading to the UMC helipad, a custom-built shade mesh fin system cuts solar gain and glare. Many of the references embedded in the new UMC hospital—the way in which the towers' orientations recall traditional New Orleans shotgun houses, or the connection between the stainless steel mesh and Mardi Gras beads—are so understated as to operate on almost a subliminal level. But like the city itself, the building comes alive at night, finally, and literally, revealing its true colors. "The building from the outside is very neutral," explained Sama. But thanks to accent colors on the inpatient tower stairs, revealed through translucent glass, plus accent lighting on the bulkheads above, after dark the towers shine, he explained. "The whole point was that at night they would glow with color from within."
Northwestern University breaks ground on biomedical research tower to succeed Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital
Northwestern University broke ground today on the latest addition to their downtown medical campus: a glassy, high-rise complex for biomedical research that architects Perkins + Will have previously described as “a high-tech loft.” The Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center replaces Bertrand Goldberg's old Prentice Women's Hospital, which was demolished last year after a contentious preservation fight ended with the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voting unanimously to deny the building protection. Part of Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, the new 600,000 square foot, 12-story research center will include nine laboratory floors, and could eventually reach 1.2 million square feet with the addition of a 40-story tower in future phases of construction.