Rainscreen Helps Protect Milwaukee Hospital Exterior from the Elements

Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee opened in October 2010, completing Wisconsin’s largest hospital construction project. Appropriate to the hospital’s scale, style and functionality, the building’s exterior features an aluminum rainscreen system manufactured by Dri-Design Wall Panel Systems of Holland, Mich., and painted by Linetec of Wausau, Wis. The finished system was designed to protect against the harsh, winter climate and high winds of Lake Michigan.

Designed by Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK) of St. Louis, the facility was constructed by Milwaukee-based joint venture team of CG Schmidt-Barton Malow. The $417 million project replaced two, aging hospitals–St. Mary’s and Columbia–with a unified, cost-effective, modern facility.

From the earliest stages of Columbia St. Mary’s development, HOK applied evidence-based design (EBD). EBD principals guide the research-driven creation of a pleasant and efficient work environment focused on improving patient outcomes. The resulting building configuration is intuitive for patients, visitors and staff to navigate. To further enhance the healing environment at Columbia St. Mary’s, building materials were selected to minimize noise, optimize indoor climate control, and maximize daylighting and outdoor views.

EBD also recognizes that protecting patients’ privacy and controlling infection are essential to any health care facility. HOK reports that a rainscreen system assists in preventing moisture from entering the wall cavity, thus preventing any opportunity for mold to grow.

Contributing to the rainscreen system’s effectiveness, Linetec applied the bone white Kynar® finish to 136,000 square feet of Dri-Design’s 0.080-inch aluminum panels, which were installed by Architectural Products of Wausau, Wis.

Photos courtesy of Dri-Design Wall Panel Systems