Driven by the client’s desire to achieve LEED platinum-level certification—unprecedented for an inpatient hospital—the design for Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas began with a distinct vision and commitment to significantly reduce the negative impact of the building on its occupants and the environment.
Part of a 722-acre new urbanist development on the brownfield site of a former municipal airport, the planning approach split the site diagonally into town-country, and diagnostic and treatment-inpatient dualities. Positioned in the southern part of the site, the distinctly shaped three-story nursing units offer views of the surrounding healing garden and adjacent park, as well as vistas of Austin’s skyline. The two to four-level diagnostic and treatment components are organized as generic and flexible blocks on a 64-foot square module and are intended to mesh into the surrounding density of the zero setback development.
Inspired by historic examples of Texas’ Mission architecture, the blocks are pierced by six courtyards, which serve as visual cues for wayfinding. The building’s primary circulation system is organized around the crossing of two axes, the Wood Wall, and the Rock Wall. As Cardo and Decumanus, the lobby and visitor elevators are located at this important crossing, overlooking a four-story central healing courtyard.
The hospital distinguishes itself by deploying strategies designed to reuse, recycle and conserve, the most sosphisticated of which is in energy production and usage. A 4.5 megawatt natural gas-fired Combined Cooling Heating Power Plant (CCHP) provides consistent electrical power, critical to operating high-tech equipment at 70 percent greater efficiency than a comparable coal-fired plant. Steam, a by-product, is used in absorption chillers to supply chilled water for the hospital and surrounding buildings.
Other sustainable features include using the courtyards as the lungs of the building to provide cooler, cleaner fresh air to the many air-handling units distributed throughout the hospital, and as a primary source of natural light, contributing to daylight in 60 percent of spaces unrestricted by medical demands. The hospital also achieves a 35 percent reduction in potable water use by using reclaimed water for landscape, and uses low flow plumbing fixtures, motion sensor lighting controls and under floor air distribution where possible. Other recycled and environmentally-friendly materials, such as low VOC paints and adhesives, wheatboard casework, linoleum flooring, and recycled carpet and ceiling tiles, combine to provide central Texas with a unique healing environment that is trend-setting both in its design and its commitment to the environment.
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Lead Architectural Designer: Joseph F. Kuspan, AIA
Senior Architectural Designer: Kenneth C. Redman, AIA,
Project Architects: Stephen T. Zilles, AIA, LEED ® AP,
Director of Graphic Design: Daniel J. Clements, III, SEGD
Graphic Designer: Nicolas Banks, SEGD
Project Coordinator: Paul J. Carney
Architect of record
Mechanical / Electrical Engineer: ccrd Partners
Structural Engineer: Datum Engineers, Inc.
Landscape: TBG Partners
LEED: Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
Construction Manager: White Construction Company
John Durant Photography
Metal/glass curtainwall: Kawneer Company, Inc.
EIFS, ACM, or other: Manufactured Metal Fascia Panels & Horizontal S-Deck Siding/Berridge Manufacturing Co.
Stucco: DMG Plaster
Metal: Standing Seam Roof Panels/Berridge Manufacturing Co.
Metal doors: Ceco
Wood doors: VT Industries
Sliding doors: Manual Sliding ICU Doors/Horton
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Cornell
Special doors (sound control, X-ray, etc.): VT Industries
Exit devices: Von Duprin
Security devices: Lenel;Indala;GE;Pelco;Amano;Alarm-SAF
Cabinet hardware: Grass
Suspension grid: Armstrong and Kemlite
Demountable partitions: Operable Partitions/Modernfold
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Texas Fixtures
Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams
Plastic laminate: Formica/Wilsonart
Special surfacing: Solid Surface/Lexton
Floor and wall tile: Terra Green Ceramics, Inc. and Dal-Tile Corporation (public and patient restrooms, servery, kitchen)
Resilient flooring: Forbo, Johnsonite, Expanko, Altro, Nora, Ardex
Carpet: Interface, Shaw
Raised flooring: Tate
Reception furniture: Brayton
Task Chairs: Steelcase
Upholstery: Maharam, DesignTex, Spinneybeck, ArcCom, Paul Brayton
Task lighting: Nulite
Exterior: Lithonia; Antique Street Lamps
Specialty lighting: Selux; Lithonia; Sky Factory; Gammalux; Belfer; Lumetta; ELP; Bruck; Iris; Juno
Accessibility provision (lifts, ramping, etc.):
Showers: Aqua Bath Company; Swanstone
Mop Sinks: Fiat
Emergency Showers: HAWS
Electric Water Coolers: Elkay