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Fluid and Dynamic Forms

Hartford Hospital’s new Bone and Joint institute celebrates the movement of the human body

Hartford Hospital Top Honors Jan18

The design of the new Bone & Joint Institute at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., is inspired by the movement of the human body. Completed in late 2016, the building, designed by Perkins + Will’s New York City office with HDR Inc., Princeton, N.J., as executive architect/medical planner, offers a unique setting to restore, strength and celebrate that movement.

According to Robert Goodwin, FAIA, LEED AP, design director for Perkins + Will, the building conveys the vitality of motion in a composition of fluid, dynamic forms that create an innovative design expression unlike any other building. “Its abstract, curvilinear language evokes the sculptural quality of bone structure, and the interfaces among different parts of the building suggest the ways joints connect bone structures within the body,” he says. “These aspects combine to form an endless loop of elegantly contoured surfaces and an integrated architectural expression of world-class orthopedic health care.”

Creating a new gateway to the Hartford Hospital campus, the 250,000-square-foot project is made up of two distinct components—inpatient and outpatient care—connected by a bridge. The 175,000-square-foot hospital has 60 inpatient beds, 10 operating rooms, diagnostic imaging services, orthopedic urgent care, rehabilitation clinic, and more, and the 75,000-square-foot ambulatory care building has clinics, outpatient procedure spaces and physician offices.

“The two elements frame a main access road to the hospital and define a new southern gateway to the medical campus,” says Goodwin. “The bridge, which helps express that gateway, links the surgery platform of the hospital to the clinics, allowing convenient physician access between the buildings and direct connection for patients in case of significant emergency situations.”

The buildings and bridge are wrapped 65,000 square feet of curved, flat and wedge-shaped aluminum plate spandrel panels in a two-coat, Bone White PVDF coating from Kennett Square, Pa.-based Metalwërks. The Ameriplate wall system creates graceful flowing lines, and allows for design consistency between the two buildings.

Goodwin says the project’s extensive curving geometry gives its unique expression, and the aluminum plate cladding system was selected because of its consistent ability to maintain exceptional smoothness and flatness for all of the various radii and large panel sizes. “The aluminum plate is detailed as a rainscreen system, with integrated sill and soffit panels coped to meet the curving and sloping profiles at the darker-colored aluminum-clad strip windows,” he explains. “To accentuate the sweep of the curves, a continuous rolled aluminum tube was incorporated into the window system, bracketed from the vertical mullions. Ultimately, the building achieves its goal of a fluid, dynamic expression of motion through the unique qualities of the metal used to enclose it.”

Additionally, Goodwin notes that the building is organized to create a connection to nature through several strategies, including the massing of the hospital that inflects at the midpoint so a landscaped rehabilitation garden is defined at the entry; this space, which links visually to the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed botanical garden across the street, is used for active rehab activities and includes a raingarden for stormwater mitigation. Inside, almost all of the circulation is located at the perimeter so daylight and views are emphasized for patients, visitors and staff. While the building is not pursuing LEED certification, it does achieve an overall energy use reduction of 17 percent over the applicable ASHRAE baseline.