The 600,000+ square feet, $240 million+ Nemours Children’s Hospital sets a new standard for the correlation of a medical facility’s mission with its physical expression. Stanley, Beaman & Sears from Atlanta designed this remarkable building at Lake Nona, Skanska USA lead the construction of this remarkable building and Kenpat USA contributed through the installation of the exterior rear ventilated terra cotta façade and interior acoustical and specialty ceilings.
Nemours Children’s Hospital was recognized by The International Design Association (IIDA) in March 2013 through receiving awards in the Healthcare Design category and the best overall out of eleven categories, the Best of the Best. The International Design Association (IIDA) is a professional networking and educational association of 13,000 members in ten specialty practice forums and thirty one chapters worldwide.
The terra cotta façade consists of approximately 35,000 square feet of terra cotta panels in fifteen separate façade panels, strategically placed around the building. The earthy tone of the terra cotta panels provide for an interesting contrast with the aluminum and glass façade. Some of the terra cotta panels are grooved to provide an eye catching relief within the otherwise smooth terra cotta façade.
The terra cotta tiles were sourced from the south of Germany and from a factory with an interesting cooperative agreement with local land owners. The manufacturer leases land from the local farmers and land owners, mines it for its clay and then returns the land to its owners. This process has been successfully employed for over 100 years.
The construction of the terra cotta façade was particularly challenging due to a number of factors. Unlike most other façade projects, The Nemours children’s Hospital consisted of fifteen different facades, each with at least one end return, one bottom return and consisting of smooth and grooved tiles. This in turn resulted in nearly 1,000 different size tiles out of a total of nearly 10,000 tiles. The factory was unable to ship the tiles per façade and instead shipped per tile size in order to optimize shipping costs. The logistics and packaging of the consignment became so complicated that a separate facility was rented to pre-stage and sort tiles prior to its shipping to the jobsite.
Most of the façade was constructed over precast concrete panels. The difference in tolerance between concrete construction and the requirements for the terra cotta façade required the use of an adjustable aluminum substructure system to achieve the close final façade tolerances. A one-time project based NOA approval was obtained and engineering provided which exceeded NOA requirements, as this building is classified as a critical infrastructure facility.
The simultaneous construction of multiple facades placed an extra emphasis on safety. A combination of mast climbers, scaffolding, swing stages and boom lifts had to be used to complete the project. The cladding was completed with zero lost man hours.