Proj Overview


A recent expansion of the North Shore Medical Center (NSMC) in Salem, Massachusetts included the construction of a new four-story building and the renovation of the Spaulding North Shore Building, as well as significant upgrades to the campus infrastructure. The project consolidates NSMC's Lynn and Salem acute care services and realigns the facilities to make high-quality care more cost-effective and efficient and improves access for North Shore residents.

The new 113,000 square foot, four-story building features a new emergency department, mechanical space, surgical inpatient beds, medical – surgical unit with vertical and horizontal connecting corridors to the existing Davenport Building.

The $207-million project is expected to be occupied by fall 2019 has been designed to the owner’s sustainability standards and will pursue LEED Silver Certification.

Medical Solution

The NSMC Salem campus consolidation project presented many design challenges related to the complex site and building configuration, with limited available space for new construction. Erected between three existing structures, the new building was strategically located to connect to the existing hospital, as well as to the renovated behavioral health building, enabling the design team to maximize the square footage of the new Emergency Department on the ground floor of both the new and renovated buildings.

“The building was like an octopus fitting into the other medical campus with ramps, elevators and stairs emanating out so all the buildings connect to each other”, describes Annie Reed, Assoc. AIA, LEED BD+C, Shepley Bulfinch.

“We had to consolidate the substrate and bring in an oversize crane to overcome the site challenges. Part of the structure was left off in order to reach over and install the precast panels on the rest of the medical building.  The staging area was also limited and just in time delivery was utilized to pick the pieces” says Gerald K. Grassby, Project Manager, Strescon Limited.  The sister company of Ocean Steel worked with Strescon to improve the coordination between the precast façade and steel frame.

Early on in the collaboration stage with Shepley Bulfinch and Walsh Brothers, Strescon utilized a 3-D models to demonstrate how the wall panel installation would progress.  Reed says that visualizing the erection process showed logistics and just how the large precast pieces could be erected as quickly as possible.  When the oversized crane had completed the first phase, a smaller crane was brought in to finish the rest of the erection and the panels were installed in 2 months. 

Visual Effects

“We had to work with an existing Cast-In-Place concrete building circa 1970’s and the precast panels had a nice relationship without competing against it”, describes Reed.  A buff mix design was selected by the hospital administration to limit the campus façade to one color.  Ribbed panels and projecting fins were used to break up the scale of the new building.  “The precast does a good job being contextual and has a nice dialogue with adjacent structures in terms of massing and the way concrete feels masculine and powerful”, illustrates Reed. 

The corrugated and ribbed panels draw your eye away from any imperfections in the natural finish.

“Horizontal eyebrows and vertical features add interest and offset the big massive building”, adds Reed.  “Some hospital areas such as support services, operating rooms and the like cannot have windows which added to the mass of the structure”, explains Reed.   Patient rooms have windows but the rest were solid precast concrete walls. Many were structural spandrels that span from column to column and support the windows.

Operating Systems

Mechanical systems were put in the second level above the emergency room. The position on a double-height second floor of the new building provides simpler routing and access for maintenance and creates easier connections to the existing building. It also ensures that the best natural lighting is reserved for hospital patients and families.

“The placement of the HVAC was necessary because the hospital requires very robust systems as well as redundancy in case of emergency or natural disaster”, explains Reed. Due to the unique location, the equipment required a crane to install and some precast panels were left off the façade temporarily. After the mechanicals were connected the panels were erected to finish out the façade.  There was a lot of coordination during the entire installation.


With the goal of improving care and coordination of health services, the new NSMC consolidates medical, surgical and behavioral health services on its Salem Hospital campus to create a robust regional facility for inpatient and emergency care. To visually unify the buildings and add interest to the façade, the design integrated exterior cladding with precast concrete panels.


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Project Team


Strescon, Saint John, NB, Canada


North Shore Medical Center


Shepley Bulfinch, Boston, MA


McNamara Salvia, Boston, MA


Walsh Brothers, Boston, MA

Photo Credit:

CopyXDdesign Photographer

Key Project Attributes

Sq. Footage: 113,000 sf

Levels/Floors: 4 floors

Project/Precast Scope

Precast Elements: 387 Architectural precast panels