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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Interiors, New Construction
700,000 sq. ft., 12-Stories
FKP Architects, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Supply Chain Management
Virtual Design & Construction
The approximately 700,000 sq. ft. facility itself is an architectural icon featuring a complex curving curtainwall façade that soars 12 stories (with support for four future additional stories). The curving, colorful exterior establishes a distinctive image for the new campus while its light-filled, easy-to-navigate interior creates a welcoming environment for patients. Stacked to create an undulating form, the building’s floors vary in area and shape according to their function. Toward the clinical spaces, the main wing’s eight floors are aligned with a rectilinear spine. Along the waiting areas, floors are offset to create light-filled public spaces. The undersides of the floors are exposed, each revealing a single bright color. The building includes significant outdoor spaces. Patients arriving by car will see a three-acre landscaped plaza which is actually the green roof of a five-story underground parking garage with approximately 1,500 parking spaces. The green roof itself is the largest ever constructed in the city of Philadelphia. The meandering pathways through the sylvan plaza echo the curvilinear form of the building and provide a link to future buildings. Within the plaza, a large circular lawn can hold up to 250 people for hospital events while smaller spaces host activities for patients. The plaza also helps to manage stormwater and reduce heat absorption, contributing to the building’s LEED Gold rating. In addition, there is another 15,000 sq. ft. roof garden that sits atop the elliptical six-story wing. This plaza serves as an extension of a gymnasium used for rehabilitation and features shade arbors, a fountain and water channel, a play area and a running path.
During the bid/proposal process, Turner recognized that one of the project’s largest challenges was associated with the exterior wall construction. The original design for the exterior wall would have required the use of as many as six different subcontractors, all attempting to coordinate work on the building’s ever-changing geometry. In order to overcome the challenge of building such a complex wall system, reduce/eliminate the potential for leaks at the multiple trade interface locations, and have one subcontractor responsible for the geometry and interfaces between the materials, Turner introduced the possibility of changing the wall construction to a unitized curtainwall system. During the contract negotiation phase, Turner teamed with Enclos (curtainwall subcontractor), CHoP (owner), FKP (architect), Pelli Clarke Pelli (architect), and the project’s exterior wall consultant to review all the parameters associated with changing the wall system. After multiple teaming sessions to review all details of the proposed curtainwall, its loading of the structure, and its impact to interior fit-out and finish construction, an agreement was reached that using a unitized curtainwall system had benefits over the original design and could be incorporated into the project. As the wall was constructed during the period from October 2013 to September 2014, water infiltration tests were regularly performed. We believe the reason all these infiltrations tests passed on the first attempt was due to the changes that were made by the team to adopt the unitized curtainwall system. This critical change in construction technique maintained the original design intent for both the exterior and interior of the project and maintained the vision for the building that the Owner had shared with all of its stakeholders. Yet, because of the significant reduction of subcontractor interface, the construction was simplified, potential leak points were drastically reduced, and both cost and schedule were maintained.