Green Hospital: Dell Children's MC of Central TX

A Seton hospital, Dell Children's MC is now 92% complete.

Built by White Construction Co. of Austin, the 195-bed Dell CMC rings in at 470k sq/ft, and cost a pretty penny at $200M (Seton shelled out about $125M, the Dells put in about $50, and fundraising accounted for about $25M).

Warning: Place something beneath your chin to catch any errant drool that may result from viewing the Dell CMC gallery.

here for some amazing renderings of the exterior, including grounds.

Seems someone is finally listening when designers and architects tout the benefits of organic and representative design. On the renderings (link above), note the functional and metaphorical "hub and spoke design."

After the JCAHO "Hospital of the Future" convention in Lake Buena Vista FL this past April, a colleage and I braindumped some very rough hospital designs on a cocktail napkin. The goal was to stop thinking of hospitals as hospitals, and instead reimage facility design based on our personal ideal healing environment.

My cocktail buddy, a JCAHO consultant, laughed at me politely as we chowed down on the cheese and grapes. I'll be sure to point out this post to him when we have lunch next and give him a bit of the old I-told-you-so.

My favorite looked like a series of sunflowers, with curved perspectives. The goal was to take forms from nature (sunflower=fibonacci sequence) and relate how they may apply to organic facility design/aesthetics.

Why waste time drawing something like this? Well, the merlot may have had something to do with it, but freeing ourselves to imagine our ideal 'hospital of the future' is the first step to bringing these designs into the present.

Kalsberger Architects, who designed Dell CMC, are my H/HC Progressive Heroes for the week.

Seton details green building guidelines used here.

"Green" highlights:
  • 3 acre healing garden
  • 5 interior "lungs" or open-air courtyard that allow the hospital to "breathe"
  • even the brownfield building site is 'repurposed' land at the 750 acre former Robert Mueller Municial Airport, and the building is part of the City of Austin's Smart Growth Initiative
  • rainwater collection system
  • grounds are designed using xeriscaping and native flora
  • solar energy/panels
  • low VOC (volatile organic compounds)
  • efforts to design for maximum natural daylight exposure, which may promote healing (may promote healing? does chocolate taste good???)
  • low-flow toilets
Here are the major players, as in this McGraw-Hill Construction Magazine piece:
Key Players
Owner: Seton Healthcare Network, Austin
General Contractor: White Construction Co., Austin
Architect: Karlsberger Architecture Inc., Columbus, Ohio
Structural Engineer: Datum Engineers Inc., Austin
Civil Engineer: Bury+Partners Inc., Austin

Say you have the impossible blessing of designing your ideal hospital. Cost, space, and time constraints have been removed from the equation.

So what does your ideal hospital look like? I'd love to hear from you...more on this thread tomorrow.

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