Contract - Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation

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Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation

15 October, 2012

-By Murrye Bernard


A hospital visit is an event most people attempt to avoid, but Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital draws an audience not in need of medical attention. The new Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation, designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA), is the first fully dedicated, freestanding hospital museum in the United States.

The 9,700 square-foot, two-story building—named for Dr. Paul S. Russell, a longtime Mass General physician who spearheaded efforts behind the project—was funded entirely through philanthropy. Within, permanent and temporary exhibitions convey the hospital’s achievements and 200-year history, and provide an overview of the evolution of medical research and practice.  
Sited at the main entrance to Mass General’s 18-acre urban campus, the museum establishes a gateway to the hospital while connecting it to Beacon Hill, one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. “Typical of hospital campuses, the Mass General campus is oriented inward, so the museum provided an opportunity to connect with the neighboring community,” explains LWA Principal Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA.

High visibility, inside and out

Glazing along the lower level of the museum affords passersby glimpses of the exhibition spaces within, peaking curiosity and generating interest for those outside while achieving the community connection. “We provided a transparent base so there is a great deal of permeability between pedestrians and the activities within the museum at the first floor,” explains Weinzapfel. The architects selected a copper-tinted, ceramic-fritted glass that complements the exterior copper panels above and improves the building’s energy performance.

LWA selected copper as the exterior cladding material for the main volume of the museum for several reasons: It is low-maintenance and recyclable, and the surface will patinate beautifully over time, complementing details on buildings throughout Beacon Hill as well as the nearby dome of the Bulfinch Building—the original home of the hospital. On the museum’s main facade, LWA oriented the copper panels horizontally to accentuate its length along Cambridge Street. The pattern is punctured by a projecting window that offers a modern take on the oriel window—a type of bay window that is commonly spotted throughout Beacon Hill.

Flexible program, durable finishes
The museum’s ground floor houses permanent exhibitions, and an open stairway leads to the mezzanine-like second level, which presents the temporary exhibitions but also hosts both public lectures and private hospital functions. A roof garden with seating and a steel pergola allows sweeping views of Boston. “We really count to three public levels because the garden is a public space on the roof as well,” explains Peter K. Johnson, director of the museum.

In designing the exhibits, flexibility was key. “We don’t want this museum to just be about the past,” says Johnson. So the exhibit designer, Museum Design Associates, arranged the displays by theme rather than chronology. “If you spend a couple of hours here, you get a pretty good idea of the evolution of medicine over 200 years,” he says.

Mass General was the first teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and has hosted many notable achievements in the field, including the first public demonstration of surgical anesthesia under the Bulfinch dome in 1846. Among the objects on display in the museum are the original “ether” inhaler from that historical event, along with examples of early X-ray tubes, surgical kits, apothecary sets from the 19th century, as well as more recent staples of modern medicine such as semiconductor laser diode array.

Though the museum is an educational destination rather than a treatment facility for patients, its design had to comply with the hospital’s stringent requirements—even accent paint colors were chosen from the hospital’s standard set of colors. The architects selected other interior finishes that are durable yet befit a cultural institution, including polished concrete flooring, slate wall bases, glass guardrails, and English sycamore wood paneling. A practical, painted-metal accessible ceiling conceals sprinklers and integrates lighting, allowing further flexibility for changing exhibitions.

Since its opening, the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum has attracted a range of visitors—from hospital staff and faculty to patients and their families, as well as tourists and locals—and the second floor event space is booked well through the next season. The museum is already fulfilling Johnson’s prediction of becoming “a mecca of medical practice and innovation.”


Key Design Highlights
  • The exterior’s copper cladding relates to architectural elements in Beacon Hill and will develop a stunning patina over time.
  • To bridge community and institution, the ground level is visually accessible thanks to copper-tinted glazing.
  • A projecting window on the front facade is a modern take on the oriel bay windows found throughout Beacon Hill.
  • A ceiling grid to which lighting is attached allows for flexibility.
  • A steel structure atop the museum and visible from the street is a pergola for a rooftop garden.

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation
Designer Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Client Partners Healthcare Systems, Inc.
Where Boston
What 12,270 square feet on two floors and a roof terrace
Cost/sf $643


SOURCES

Architect: Leers Weinzapfel Associates.
Architecture project team: Jane F. Weinzapfel, AIA, principal in charge; Winifred A. Stopps, AIA, project manager; Tom Chung, AIA, project architect; Alan Christ, AIA, project architect; Kevin Bell, AIA; Susan Crowe Knight; Laura Duncan; Shih-Min Hsu, AIA; Hannah Jackson; Irene Kang, AIA; Matt Petrie, AIA; Jared Ramsdell; Marley Wright.
Exhibit designer: Museum Design Associates.
Contractor: Turner Construction Company.
Lighting: Lam Partners, Inc.
Engineering: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (civil); McPhail Associates, Inc. (geotechnical); Lim Consultants (structural); BVH Integrated Services (MEP, fire protection, IT).
Landscape: Brown Sardina, Inc.
Acoustician: Acentech, Inc.
Consultants: Cosentini Associates, Inc. (code); Goulston & Storrs (zoning/permitting); Epsilon Associates (IMPNF/planning).  

Paint: Sherwin-Williams; Tnemec.
Laminate: Wilsonart.
Walls: American Olean (tile); C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc. (panels); Moderco, Inc. (movable); Royal Mosa (tile).
Flooring: Vermont Structural Slate, Co.
Ceiling: Armstrong.
Lighting: Crestron (dimming systems); Omnilite (decorative); Philips Lightolier (track, decorative); Spectrum Lighting (decorative).
Exterior lighting: BK Lighting; designplan.
Doors: Curries (metal); C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc. (custom wood); Oldcastle Building Envelope (entrance); The Cheviot Corporation (entrance); V.T. Industries, Inc. (wood); Wilson Partitions (aluminum door frames).
Hardware: Corbin Rosswin; Norton Door Controls; Precision Hardware; Rockwood.
Architectural glass: C.R. Laurence Co., Inc.; Oldcastle Building Envelope; The Cheviot Corporation.
Architectural woodworking: C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc.
Steel planters: Southeastern Metal Fabrications.
Plumbing fixtures: American Standard; Filtrene; Sloan; TOTO.




Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation

15 October, 2012


Anton Grassi/Esto

A hospital visit is an event most people attempt to avoid, but Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital draws an audience not in need of medical attention. The new Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation, designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates (LWA), is the first fully dedicated, freestanding hospital museum in the United States.

The 9,700 square-foot, two-story building—named for Dr. Paul S. Russell, a longtime Mass General physician who spearheaded efforts behind the project—was funded entirely through philanthropy. Within, permanent and temporary exhibitions convey the hospital’s achievements and 200-year history, and provide an overview of the evolution of medical research and practice.  
Sited at the main entrance to Mass General’s 18-acre urban campus, the museum establishes a gateway to the hospital while connecting it to Beacon Hill, one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods. “Typical of hospital campuses, the Mass General campus is oriented inward, so the museum provided an opportunity to connect with the neighboring community,” explains LWA Principal Jane Weinzapfel, FAIA.

High visibility, inside and out

Glazing along the lower level of the museum affords passersby glimpses of the exhibition spaces within, peaking curiosity and generating interest for those outside while achieving the community connection. “We provided a transparent base so there is a great deal of permeability between pedestrians and the activities within the museum at the first floor,” explains Weinzapfel. The architects selected a copper-tinted, ceramic-fritted glass that complements the exterior copper panels above and improves the building’s energy performance.

LWA selected copper as the exterior cladding material for the main volume of the museum for several reasons: It is low-maintenance and recyclable, and the surface will patinate beautifully over time, complementing details on buildings throughout Beacon Hill as well as the nearby dome of the Bulfinch Building—the original home of the hospital. On the museum’s main facade, LWA oriented the copper panels horizontally to accentuate its length along Cambridge Street. The pattern is punctured by a projecting window that offers a modern take on the oriel window—a type of bay window that is commonly spotted throughout Beacon Hill.

Flexible program, durable finishes
The museum’s ground floor houses permanent exhibitions, and an open stairway leads to the mezzanine-like second level, which presents the temporary exhibitions but also hosts both public lectures and private hospital functions. A roof garden with seating and a steel pergola allows sweeping views of Boston. “We really count to three public levels because the garden is a public space on the roof as well,” explains Peter K. Johnson, director of the museum.

In designing the exhibits, flexibility was key. “We don’t want this museum to just be about the past,” says Johnson. So the exhibit designer, Museum Design Associates, arranged the displays by theme rather than chronology. “If you spend a couple of hours here, you get a pretty good idea of the evolution of medicine over 200 years,” he says.

Mass General was the first teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and has hosted many notable achievements in the field, including the first public demonstration of surgical anesthesia under the Bulfinch dome in 1846. Among the objects on display in the museum are the original “ether” inhaler from that historical event, along with examples of early X-ray tubes, surgical kits, apothecary sets from the 19th century, as well as more recent staples of modern medicine such as semiconductor laser diode array.

Though the museum is an educational destination rather than a treatment facility for patients, its design had to comply with the hospital’s stringent requirements—even accent paint colors were chosen from the hospital’s standard set of colors. The architects selected other interior finishes that are durable yet befit a cultural institution, including polished concrete flooring, slate wall bases, glass guardrails, and English sycamore wood paneling. A practical, painted-metal accessible ceiling conceals sprinklers and integrates lighting, allowing further flexibility for changing exhibitions.

Since its opening, the Paul S. Russell, MD Museum has attracted a range of visitors—from hospital staff and faculty to patients and their families, as well as tourists and locals—and the second floor event space is booked well through the next season. The museum is already fulfilling Johnson’s prediction of becoming “a mecca of medical practice and innovation.”


Key Design Highlights
  • The exterior’s copper cladding relates to architectural elements in Beacon Hill and will develop a stunning patina over time.
  • To bridge community and institution, the ground level is visually accessible thanks to copper-tinted glazing.
  • A projecting window on the front facade is a modern take on the oriel bay windows found throughout Beacon Hill.
  • A ceiling grid to which lighting is attached allows for flexibility.
  • A steel structure atop the museum and visible from the street is a pergola for a rooftop garden.

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation
Designer Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Client Partners Healthcare Systems, Inc.
Where Boston
What 12,270 square feet on two floors and a roof terrace
Cost/sf $643


SOURCES

Architect: Leers Weinzapfel Associates.
Architecture project team: Jane F. Weinzapfel, AIA, principal in charge; Winifred A. Stopps, AIA, project manager; Tom Chung, AIA, project architect; Alan Christ, AIA, project architect; Kevin Bell, AIA; Susan Crowe Knight; Laura Duncan; Shih-Min Hsu, AIA; Hannah Jackson; Irene Kang, AIA; Matt Petrie, AIA; Jared Ramsdell; Marley Wright.
Exhibit designer: Museum Design Associates.
Contractor: Turner Construction Company.
Lighting: Lam Partners, Inc.
Engineering: Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (civil); McPhail Associates, Inc. (geotechnical); Lim Consultants (structural); BVH Integrated Services (MEP, fire protection, IT).
Landscape: Brown Sardina, Inc.
Acoustician: Acentech, Inc.
Consultants: Cosentini Associates, Inc. (code); Goulston & Storrs (zoning/permitting); Epsilon Associates (IMPNF/planning).  

Paint: Sherwin-Williams; Tnemec.
Laminate: Wilsonart.
Walls: American Olean (tile); C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc. (panels); Moderco, Inc. (movable); Royal Mosa (tile).
Flooring: Vermont Structural Slate, Co.
Ceiling: Armstrong.
Lighting: Crestron (dimming systems); Omnilite (decorative); Philips Lightolier (track, decorative); Spectrum Lighting (decorative).
Exterior lighting: BK Lighting; designplan.
Doors: Curries (metal); C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc. (custom wood); Oldcastle Building Envelope (entrance); The Cheviot Corporation (entrance); V.T. Industries, Inc. (wood); Wilson Partitions (aluminum door frames).
Hardware: Corbin Rosswin; Norton Door Controls; Precision Hardware; Rockwood.
Architectural glass: C.R. Laurence Co., Inc.; Oldcastle Building Envelope; The Cheviot Corporation.
Architectural woodworking: C.W. Keller and Associates, Inc.
Steel planters: Southeastern Metal Fabrications.
Plumbing fixtures: American Standard; Filtrene; Sloan; TOTO.

 


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