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CASE STUDY:
Park Street Clinical Laboratory Building

New Haven, Connecticut

A Beacon of Well Being: A hospital facility mends an urban wound while also providing the means to heal patients.

July 2011
Svigals + Partners with Behnisch Architekten (LA)

By Alanna Malone

Clear panels of the high performing curtain wall allow daylight in and provide views of the New Haven Harbor and West River Park.
Photo © Roland Halbe Architectural Photography

Clear panels of the high performing curtain wall allow daylight in and provide views of the New Haven Harbor and West River Park.


We meet Barry Svigals in downtown New Haven to tour his firm's Park Street Clinical Laboratory. Aspiring for LEED Gold certification, the building mends an urban wound while also providing the means to heal patients. Video

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KEY PARAMETERS

Location New Haven, Connecticut (New Haven harbor watershed)

Gross area 156,900 ft2 (14,600 m2)

Cost $44 million (core and shell); $10 million (tenant improvements)

Completed December 2009

Annual purchased energy use (based on simulation) 234 kBtu/ft2 (2,660 MJ/m2), 28% reduction from base case

Annual carbon footprint (predicted) 43 lbs. CO2/ft2 (212 kg CO2/m2)

Program Core & shell (atrium) and tenant improvements (pharmacy, loading dock, auditorium)

   
Sky Conditions   Temp./Dew Points   Precipitation

 

TEAM

Owner Fusco Park Street, LLC
Architects Svigals + Partners with Behnisch
Architekten (LA)
Interior designer Behnisch Architekten
Commissioning agent Flack & Kurtz Engineers
Engineers Spiegel Zamecnik & Shah (structural); Van
Zelm Heywood & Shadford (mechanical); Tighe & Bond
(civil)
Landscape Towers Golde Stephen Stimson Associates
(interior)
Environmental building, energy, lighting
consultant
Atelier Ten
General contractor Fusco Corporation

Sources
Glazed aluminum curtain wall Vistawall Unitized
Wall louvers Penthouse Airolite CB609HP
Glazing Viracon; Okalux Okasolar
Roofing Carlisle Sure-Weld (thermoplastic membrane)
Concrete floor finishing The Chargar Corp. Safety Seal
Finish carpentry Reclamation lumber reclaimed
Douglas fir
Cabinets Legere Group custom cherry & maple cabinets
Acoustical ceilings Armstrong Techzone, Optima HRC,
Ultima HRC, Climaplus, Dune HRC
Flooring Oregon Lumber End-Grain Douglas Fir;
Armstrong Bio Based Tile (resilient flooring)
Carpet Lees Broadloom; Bentley Prince Street (tiles)
Paints and stains Benjamin Moore Super and Eco Spec
Floor mats C/S Group Pedigrid, Peditred
Elevators Kone Monospace Traction
Interior ambient Vanguard Lighting Limburg
Cylindrical
Chillers York YCAL Air Cooled

During the 1950s and ’60s, New Haven received more funding per capita for urban renewal than any other U.S. city. Unfortunately, many of these experiments went awry. A planned extension of Route 34 into the western suburbs was never finished, despite the construction of the two-story Air Rights Parking Garage built to straddle the new highway. The incomplete project was a symbol of failed urban planning for about 45 years, creating a blight in the center of the city. The Park Street Clinical Laboratory, completed in late 2009, is one of a series of new buildings in the downtown medical district that seeks to rectify this debacle. The result of a collaboration between New Haven–based Svigals + Partners and international firm Behnisch Architekten, the 150,000-square-foot structure supports an adjacent cancer-treatment center with clinical processing labs, a blood bank, offices, a public atrium, and pharmacy.

Behnisch Architekten and Svigals + Partners had worked together before in pursuit of a project in New Haven that they did not win. “It was a partnership that began before this building in terms of the firms feeling very connected with each other from a creative point of view,” says Barry Svigals, founding partner at Svigals + Partners. “And we obviously both shared a passion for sustainability.” The initial goal was LEED certification, but during the process, the ambition escalated; the hospital currently anticipates LEED Core and Shell Gold certification for the building. Svigals + Partners collaborated with Behnisch’s Stuttgart headquarters on the initial design, then worked with Behnisch’s offices in Venice, California, for the rest.

The spirit of connectivity generated from the joining of the firms during the integrated design process carried over into the program for serving the needs of the medical community. The building is bordered on three sides by city streets and on the fourth by the two-story parking garage. The team took advantage of the unfinished highway project under the garage by transforming the lanes into six loading docks at the basement level. Inside, a 10,000-square-foot pharmacy serves the adjacent hospital. The ground floor offers retail space (not yet occupied), while the second floor houses administrative offices and a 150-seat auditorium.

In addition to these functions, the core purpose of the building was to consolidate the laboratories, which were previously separated throughout the hospital in an ad hoc way to accommodate the various needs. To process the necessary five million-plus clinical tests a year, the technicians needed a common space with the latest equipment. “The labs represent a technological step into the 21st century for the hospital,” says Svigals.

The new design also encourages interaction between employees and patients with lively public spaces. Located at the main entrance, the five-story atrium takes advantage of daylighting on the south side, minimizing the need for artificial lights even on cloudy days. It also serves as a hub of connectivity—access to the parking garage is on the atrium’s second floor and an air bridge on the fourth floor connects to the treatment center. “For possibly thousands of patients every day, the atrium is their first experience in the hospital,” says Svigals. “They’re coming in under traumatic circumstances and this space provides a transition for them emotionally as well as physically.” Interior gardens and a colorful palette further bolster the cheery space.

The building is a high energy user because the labs operate 24/7, according to Maurice Cohen, the hospital’s senior project manager. An air-to-air plate heat exchanger is used for energy recovery, allowing the supply and exhaust air to pass by each other to pre-heat the supply air in the winter and pre-cool the supply air in the summer.

Ventilation was a challenge because laboratories are required to use 100 percent outside air supply to control pathogens. “Two dedicated air-handling units provide fresh air to floors three through six, which house the labs. The air circulates through these spaces and is then exhausted either by the dedicated exhaust duct or through the fume hoods,” says Larry Jones, project manager with energy consultant Atelier Ten. In more densely occupied spaces, demand control ventilation (DCV) is used to monitor carbon dioxide and supply more fresh outdoor air when necessary.

The architects clad the building with a dynamic yet functional facade using a mosaic of clear, colored, silkscreened, and opaque glazed panels. “One of the most important things we worked on was the skin,” says Jay Brotman, partner at Svigals + Partners. “It’s a high-performing, unitized glazing system that arrived on-site pre-assembled and was put in place once the structural steel was up.” The colorful facade also enhances the streetscape for pedestrians.

New Haven’s downtown still lacks cohesion, but the laboratory building is an important step in knitting the city back together, while also providing crucial functions for the medical facility. “It’s really a welcome mat the hospital has offered to the city,” concludes Svigals.

 

This article appeared in the July 2011 print issue of GreenSource Magazine.

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