A Homerun of a Hospital Stands Strong in South Florida

Good architects agree: every new project offers a learning experience opportunity. Such was the case for Atlanta-based Stanley, Beaman & Sears, which designed the new Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. The project required more than just standard glass and curtainwall, as it was designed to meet hurricane requirements as well as provide energy performance. The $140 million project, which opened its doors to patients July 21, 2011, is located on property adjacent to Memorial Regional Hospital and the existing Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. It is South Florida’s newest freestanding children’s hospital and the first in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

“The overriding theme of the hospital is the ‘Power of Play’ and each floor is designed with that in mind; each floor has a different color palette, a different icon, and a different graphic pattern scheme,” says Steve Denton, project manager with Stanley, Beaman & Sears. He explains that in regards to the glass and curtainwall systems they used, the biggest factor was the hurricane requirements.

“We had to create a structure that would meet those wind requirements, but we also wanted it to meet energy requirements,” says Denton. “With laminated glass it’s sometimes difficult to meet all of those criteria, hurricane and energy; however we worked with Viracon to find a glass that would achieve both.” He adds that the whole building is designed to meet the criteria for large missile impact.

But when it comes to architectural design, the finished product isn’t always the original intent. Denton says, for example, their original concept had considerable more curtainwall, as the idea was to open everything up to allow an abundance of daylight within the interior of the building.

“In the end, though, we conceptualized the design to maintain curtainwall in the public spaces and used punched openings in the private areas,” says Denton, explaining that they went through a significant re-design in between the design and construction documents phase as they learned that the wind pressure requirements exceeded what the glass system would allow.

He says they worked with consulting engineers RWDI, which did a wind tunnel analysis.

“They created a wind tunnel analysis based on our design and were able to define exactly the wind pressures to which we could design the building,” says Denton. “We then could design the building around that. It helped us determine where we could put the glazing and where we could not.”

The glazing system was supplied and installed by Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Crawford Tracey Corporation. To protect the hospital against flying debris from a tropical storm/hurricane and water infiltration, 25,000 square feet of high-performance window systems were specified and used throughout the entire hospital. The company’s Pro-Tech 7SG curtainwall and Pro-Tech 45 window system were used.

And even without being in an insulating unit, the laminated glass is still able to provide energy performance. Denton says they were able to meet a solar factor of around .48 and they have applied for LEED Gold Certification.

So when it comes to designing a project such as this one, Denton says it’s critical to get as much information upfront about the design requirements.

“With hurricane projects there is often less design/creative flexibility because of system limitations,” he says, explaining that while yes, those requirements can be met, a lot of information is needed upfront.

“Unfortunately, the win tunnel analysis was performed late in the design process. We could have designed around those requirements and solved some of those problems had the testing been initiated earlier in the process,” says Denton. “Looking back at our original design and the extent of curtainwall that was originally envisioned, we had to re-design a lot of the creative aspects of what we were trying to do so that we could meet the wind pressure requirements.”

He continues, “The additional time and cost associated with testing the system as originally designed to achieve a new NOA was not included in the project scope of work.”

Denton says working on the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital provided a great opportunity.

“Understanding the process is more important than anything. Earlier wind tunnel testing and a better alignment between the design team, construction manager and owner’s expectations for the design of the curtainwall system would have been beneficial. You have to know as much as possible up front to make sure you can meet those requirements in advance.”

Other groups involved with this project include ANF Group Inc., which served as the general contractor.