Contract - Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

design - features - healthcare design



Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

23 October, 2013

-By James McCown. Photography by Anton Grassl/Esto and James Steinkemp


When the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital opened in April in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, it was immediately put to the test. Some of the first patients included 32 Boston Marathon bombing survivors that arrived from area acute care hospitals to be treated for a wide array of injuries. Designed by Perkins+Will, the state-of-the-art hospital enabled the bombing victims to receive the necessary care to gain mobility and independence to go home.

One of the largest inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is the winner in the acute care category of the 2013 Healthcare Environment Awards. The 237,600-square-foot hospital is comprised of two connected structures—an eight-story patient tower and a three-story building near the water with a therapeutic gymnasium and pool. As the official teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, it replaces the previous facility, which was located two miles away. Forty-two years ago, it had been fashioned out of a nursing home and was inadequate in almost every way for Spaulding. “Our mission is about improving the quality of life of patients, both here and when they get home,” says David Storto, president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners Continuing Care. “People stay here for an average of 20 days—much longer than in a regular hospital. We wanted a hospital that was a model of sustainability, inclusiveness, and patient care.”

Waterfront location drives the design

Located on a stunning waterfront site—a remediated brownfield called Yard’s End in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard—the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is designed to fully integrate nautical and waterfront references. The building itself, sheathed in battleship
gray aluminum, is a nod to the shipbuilding roots of the site.

Outside the building, an extensive waterfront walk—Boston Harborwalk—is complete with bioswales to cleanse stormwater and provide educational and recreational amenities for patients and visitors. And there are many archeological artifacts located on the site, like wooden ship timbers, which have been incorporated into the landscape and the building’s interior. Public accessibility was key for Spaulding on this waterfront site; the city of Boston requred that at least 50 percent of the hospital’s grounds and 75 percent of the first floor space had to be accessible to the public at all times. Perkins+Will also extended the outdoors into the interior with other design elements. For example, the vehicle entrance canopy extends into the main interior lobby and becomes a soffit. Panels of Douglas fir wrap interior surfaces and are strategically placed to serve as suble wayfinding to guide patients through interior spaces.

“One of the goals was to make it totally integrated on the interior and exterior, create more transparency between the hospital and the community, and to break down stereotypes that we have of people with disabilities,” says Jessica Stebbins, associate principal at Perkins+Will and senior project manager for Spaulding. Other Perkins+Will design team members include Ralph Johnson, FAIA, design principal; Robin Guenther, FAIA, sustainable healthcare principal; and Jean Mah, FAIA, healthcare planning principal.

Highly considered accessibility
Stebbins and her colleagues approached their task personally—the entire team spent a day in wheelchairs to better understand the needs of Spaulding’s patients. Storto said that a goal of the new facility was “to go beyond compliance [for the Americans with Disabilities Act], and set a new standard in accessibility.” For example, in the bathrooms, sculpted Corian countertops and recessed plumbing allow wheelchair-bound patients to comfortably pull up to the sink. Bathroom doors open with the wave of a hand. U-shaped cutouts at reception desks and nurses’ stations allow wheelchair users to pull straight up and face the person behind the desk at eye level, instead of having to sit sideways. Custom wood cabinets in the patient rooms open 180 degrees for easy access to belongings. Operable windows throughout the building are outfitted with sensors, connected to a central climate control system, and are designed to shut off the HVAC system to admit fresh air into the rooms and therapeutic spaces.

The new building’s program is complex and varied: 132 beds including 12 pediatric beds, full aquatic and group therapy spaces that reflect the latest thinking in physical rehabilitation, two small libraries, a non-denominational meditation space, research areas for doctors and staff, and even a mock “apartment” in which a patient may spend his or her last inpatient night to be sure they are fully accustomed to the activities of daily living.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing captures plentiful light and spectacular views of the harbor and downtown Boston. And yet, for all of the natural light pouring in, only 40 percent of the LEED Gold-certified hospital is clad in glass. Occupiable terraces on the third and fourth floors and
a large balcony on the eighth floor total 8,500 square feet of outdoor space that is accessible to patients and visitors. “Green roofs are an important therapeutic element,” says Deborah Rivers, senior project architect with Perkins+Will and the project’s sustainable design coordinator. “Who wants to look down on a dark roof?” The waterside location and nautical theme of the hospital is pleasing to Paula Hereau, vice president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Operations, who says, “Everyday I feel like I’m coming onto a cruise ship.”

Acute care winner
Spaulding Rehabilitiation Hospital

  • Architect: Perkins+Will
  • Client: Partners HealthCare
  • Where: Boston
  • What: 237,600 total square feet on eight floors
  • Cost/sf: $384

Key Design Highlights

  • The waterfront site inspired nautical elements and maritime references that the architects and designers incorporated
  • into the facility.
  • Outdoor terraces and balconies totalling 8,500 square feet are accessible to patients, visitors, and staff.
  • Floor-to-ceiling glazing admits natural light into lounges, therapy gyms, and many other spaces.
  • The design exceeds ADA standards to provide maximum accessbility to patients.
  • The hospital is designed sustainably with a lower energy-use intensity than most hospitals its size.



Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

23 October, 2013


When the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital opened in April in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston, it was immediately put to the test. Some of the first patients included 32 Boston Marathon bombing survivors that arrived from area acute care hospitals to be treated for a wide array of injuries. Designed by Perkins+Will, the state-of-the-art hospital enabled the bombing victims to receive the necessary care to gain mobility and independence to go home.

One of the largest inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is the winner in the acute care category of the 2013 Healthcare Environment Awards. The 237,600-square-foot hospital is comprised of two connected structures—an eight-story patient tower and a three-story building near the water with a therapeutic gymnasium and pool. As the official teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, it replaces the previous facility, which was located two miles away. Forty-two years ago, it had been fashioned out of a nursing home and was inadequate in almost every way for Spaulding. “Our mission is about improving the quality of life of patients, both here and when they get home,” says David Storto, president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Network and Partners Continuing Care. “People stay here for an average of 20 days—much longer than in a regular hospital. We wanted a hospital that was a model of sustainability, inclusiveness, and patient care.”

Waterfront location drives the design

Located on a stunning waterfront site—a remediated brownfield called Yard’s End in Boston’s Charlestown Navy Yard—the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is designed to fully integrate nautical and waterfront references. The building itself, sheathed in battleship
gray aluminum, is a nod to the shipbuilding roots of the site.

Outside the building, an extensive waterfront walk—Boston Harborwalk—is complete with bioswales to cleanse stormwater and provide educational and recreational amenities for patients and visitors. And there are many archeological artifacts located on the site, like wooden ship timbers, which have been incorporated into the landscape and the building’s interior. Public accessibility was key for Spaulding on this waterfront site; the city of Boston requred that at least 50 percent of the hospital’s grounds and 75 percent of the first floor space had to be accessible to the public at all times. Perkins+Will also extended the outdoors into the interior with other design elements. For example, the vehicle entrance canopy extends into the main interior lobby and becomes a soffit. Panels of Douglas fir wrap interior surfaces and are strategically placed to serve as suble wayfinding to guide patients through interior spaces.

“One of the goals was to make it totally integrated on the interior and exterior, create more transparency between the hospital and the community, and to break down stereotypes that we have of people with disabilities,” says Jessica Stebbins, associate principal at Perkins+Will and senior project manager for Spaulding. Other Perkins+Will design team members include Ralph Johnson, FAIA, design principal; Robin Guenther, FAIA, sustainable healthcare principal; and Jean Mah, FAIA, healthcare planning principal.

Highly considered accessibility
Stebbins and her colleagues approached their task personally—the entire team spent a day in wheelchairs to better understand the needs of Spaulding’s patients. Storto said that a goal of the new facility was “to go beyond compliance [for the Americans with Disabilities Act], and set a new standard in accessibility.” For example, in the bathrooms, sculpted Corian countertops and recessed plumbing allow wheelchair-bound patients to comfortably pull up to the sink. Bathroom doors open with the wave of a hand. U-shaped cutouts at reception desks and nurses’ stations allow wheelchair users to pull straight up and face the person behind the desk at eye level, instead of having to sit sideways. Custom wood cabinets in the patient rooms open 180 degrees for easy access to belongings. Operable windows throughout the building are outfitted with sensors, connected to a central climate control system, and are designed to shut off the HVAC system to admit fresh air into the rooms and therapeutic spaces.

The new building’s program is complex and varied: 132 beds including 12 pediatric beds, full aquatic and group therapy spaces that reflect the latest thinking in physical rehabilitation, two small libraries, a non-denominational meditation space, research areas for doctors and staff, and even a mock “apartment” in which a patient may spend his or her last inpatient night to be sure they are fully accustomed to the activities of daily living.

Floor-to-ceiling glazing captures plentiful light and spectacular views of the harbor and downtown Boston. And yet, for all of the natural light pouring in, only 40 percent of the LEED Gold-certified hospital is clad in glass. Occupiable terraces on the third and fourth floors and
a large balcony on the eighth floor total 8,500 square feet of outdoor space that is accessible to patients and visitors. “Green roofs are an important therapeutic element,” says Deborah Rivers, senior project architect with Perkins+Will and the project’s sustainable design coordinator. “Who wants to look down on a dark roof?” The waterside location and nautical theme of the hospital is pleasing to Paula Hereau, vice president of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Operations, who says, “Everyday I feel like I’m coming onto a cruise ship.”

Acute care winner
Spaulding Rehabilitiation Hospital

  • Architect: Perkins+Will
  • Client: Partners HealthCare
  • Where: Boston
  • What: 237,600 total square feet on eight floors
  • Cost/sf: $384

Key Design Highlights

  • The waterfront site inspired nautical elements and maritime references that the architects and designers incorporated
  • into the facility.
  • Outdoor terraces and balconies totalling 8,500 square feet are accessible to patients, visitors, and staff.
  • Floor-to-ceiling glazing admits natural light into lounges, therapy gyms, and many other spaces.
  • The design exceeds ADA standards to provide maximum accessbility to patients.
  • The hospital is designed sustainably with a lower energy-use intensity than most hospitals its size.
 


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