October 27, 2020
For more than 10 years, Epstein’s architects, interior designers and engineers have been helping renovate and modernize the hospital’s campus, resulting in the reshaping of their entire image. These projects have included, among others, additions, facility renovations and roof replacements.
- Building 13 renovation
- Building 200 north lobby expansion
- Building 12 renovation
Our most ambitious project, however, was the recently completed façade replacement of Building 200, which is the main hospital, the heart of the Hines campus. For this project, Epstein provided architectural and structural engineering services to replace the existing frontage, or face, of this 13-story building.
Epstein was originally tasked with providing Building 200 with a weather tight enclosure. Due to the poor original construction of the building, it was losing a significant amount of energy through the façade. There was no air and water barrier, which controls leakages into and out of structures. Not only was water getting into the building, air would go right through the exterior façade, making it extremely drafty.
After initial exploratory work, Epstein discovered that the existing façade of Building 200 had structural problems brewing. As such, we recommended that action be taken immediately to stabilize the façade.
While emergency stabilization was undertaken, Epstein created a design for the hospital that did not take the hospital out of service. This meant Epstein’s architects developed a scheme where we stripped off the outer half of the façade and left the interior partition in place, which meant we weren’t going to disrupt the rooms, clinics or labs on the inside of the building.
The façade, built in the 1970’s, was then transformed from outdated brick and concrete fins to beautiful glass windows. The key design feature of this project is to afford Hines more flexibility as they continue to remodel the interior departments of Building 200 in the future. Now, the hospital has the ability to open-up the exterior wall by removing demountable shadowbox panels that were installed during renovation. Upon doing so, brand new vision glass, already in place, will be revealed. Hines then has the ability to transform the existing small punched opening windows into ribbon windows, which are a series of openings set side-by-side to form a continuous band horizontally across a façade. The amount of glass in every space can be more than doubled.
This design strategy was important to Epstein, especially after looking at the affect natural light can have on patient recovery. Studies suggest daylight in healthcare buildings can aid in everything from post-operative care to pain relief.
This new glazing includes frits, which was designed to create irregular patterns across the façade when viewed from the outside. The design solution masks the random openings of these new windows and Building 200’s façade will therefore not look pock-marked, or odd, to Hines’ visitors.
In fact, the word about our services surrounding Building 200 has been getting out. Epstein has received multiple inquiries from people who are working on projects for the VA in other parts of the country asking about our design and design solution.
Although it was a challenging project with a few curveballs, Epstein is pleased to have the opportunity to positively impact the patient experience for veterans.