UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital – Pavilion A bridges where art and science of medicine coexist with a brick-inlaid architectural precast concrete exterior that is designed to harmonize with the traditional brick and stone campus. In addition to meeting the requisite expections of a high-quality finished project, the University wanted the facade to include an insulation system capable of meeting strict energy codes while providing a continuous air and vaport barrier. The designers were also looking for a solution that would allow the adminstrative floors to become operational as soon as possible and constructed in a manner that provided minimal disruption to the local campus life.
GATE worked on a design-assist basis with the University, GNNB Architects and AECOM for about 1-1/2 years before the project began construction.
“The project team was challenged early on to eliminate a year from the construction schedule. The building’s exterior skin was a big component of the construction’s critical path, so the need to accelerate construction of it resulted in reviewing all skin options.”
- Tom Gormley, principal, GBBN Architects
Insulated precast panels were selected because they could be erected quickly and had the benefit of providing a finished exterior wall with edge-to-edge continuous insulation. Complementing the panels was a curtain wall and windows that were unitized and installed quickly in the large cast openings.
The insulated precast concrete panels created a high-performance envelope providing energy efficiency, strong aesthetics and faster speed of construction. The insulated precast system proved exemplary in meeting the energy code requirements, providing an R-value comparable to R-29.
The hospital provides a “front door” to the medical campus and connects to three existing facilities. The project was originally designed with hand-set block and brick. During the design phase, the design team researched other façade options to ensure speed, quality, performance and an exterior that perfectly matched existing campus buildings was utilized. Through a series of mockups, GATE successfully demonstrated how the European thin brick used in the prefabricated wall system could provide the dramatic appearance required to match other campus buildings and its ability to exceed other project requirements.
"Thin-set brick, insulating panels allowed us to achieve the design objective of matching the adjacent campus structure, with a better performing exterior skin, where the quality of construction could be better controlled, and still take a significant amount of time off of the project schedule."
Scheduling was a key challenge. The precast panels embedded with thin brick were delivered and erected during the night to reduce traffic problems around the site. The brick facade features a blend of five brick colors, requiring more than 1 million pieces in all.
“If they had tried to use handlaid brick, it would’ve taken forever to get it completed, and the site—at the front of the hospital—would have been disrupted for a long time with materials and scaffolding. The hospital was enclosed two to three times faster with a prefabricated exterior solution.”
-Bill Sparks, PE chief engineer, GATE
The University was able to open the administrative area well ahead of the original timeline allowing workers valuable months to move in and get set up while the patient floors were being completed. This durable façade system will provide a long service life and a safe and healthy environment for its patients for years to come.
The Art and Science of Hospitals, Cover Story
(2014) PCI Design Awards, Best Healthcare/Medical and Sustainable Design
GBBN Architects and AECOM - Ellerbe Becket