A new level of access to outpatient care in southwestern Connecticut is being constructed in Trumbull: Bridgeport Hospital-Yale Park Avenue Campus Medical Center. The 100,000-square-foot, three-story facility is using architectural precast concrete panels to clad its façade, providing an aesthetically pleasing appearance that was cost effective and quickly erected.
The facility offers a range of hospital and health-system services, including ambulatory surgery, cancer treatment, radiology, urgent and primary care, and breast care. The center serves as a hub for a unified patient-care campus, joining two existing buildings housing radiation oncology and medical offices, which are being renovated.
“We chose precast concrete for the façade because of how quickly it would go up, as well as its economics and the aesthetics we could achieve,” says William Fitzgerald, project architect at Shepley Bullfinch for the project. “Precast concrete is such a plastic material that it allowed us to create some visual interest through the incorporation of a wavy pattern that extends around the building. It provides a friendly, inviting appearance and breaks down the scale of the building.”
The panels feature projecting 4-inch fins that maximize or minimize their widths at window openings, creating an undulating appearance. The design provides a bas-relief motif created using BIM software. “The pattern was not difficult to design or to cast, and it provides visual interest we couldn’t be achieved any other way,” Fitzgerald says.
The 14,000 square feet of architectural panels, cast by Coreslab Structures (CONN) Inc., included spandrel panels with large vertical column covers returning around the corners to continue the pattern uninterrupted.
Designers at Shepley Bullfinch, notably Principals Angela Watson and Luke Voiland, had created a similar precast concrete concept for a project at the University of Houston, so they were confident they could achieve it here, notes Fitzgerald. “We adopted that concept to fit the needs of the hospital’s aesthetic goals.”
The busy site, with adjacent buildings close in, required a controlled phasing of construction and coordination of staging for components, he says. “The building really uses up all of the available space between buildings, with every square foot accounted for.” The panels were delivered and picked from trucks as needed to create a just-in-time delivery system.
“We worked closely with the architect to plan out the complex project formwork into simpler, interchangeable parts for production economy,” says Rob Del Vento Jr., vice president and sales manager at Coreslab. “It took many months of detailing to create this seamless production approach for a product that was installed quickly and provided a dramatic appearance.”