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University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center, Beachwood, Ohio

Officially opened March 1, 2011, the new $298 million, 432,000-square-foot medical center includesahuja medical center a seven-story, 144-bed hospital and a three-story medical outpatient building. The medical center was designed to garner attention and incorporate an innovative theory of "evidence-based" design in which scientific research was incorporated to better serve patients and promote healing in a guest-centered environment.

University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center was awarded a LEED New Construction 1099 (NCv2009) Silver certification-giving it the distinction of being the first health care facility in the United States to receive certification under this version of higher and more stringent sustainable requirements. Among the many green building methods incorporated in the medical center are the use of bio-swales and bio-retention basins to manage on-site stormwater, a plan to reduce energy through metering and monitoring, installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof, and the selection of sustainable and eco-friendly materials to provide a healthy indoor environment.

"University Hospitals wanted a unique, modern structure," says Seth Meltzer, AIA, vice president in the Richmond, Va., office of HKS Inc., and project architect. "They wanted a signature-type project to serve as this community's hospital. This design also was integral to an overall response to patient needs, including patient flow and sight lines."

The hospital features a seven-story curved curtainwall filled with glass and accent bands fabricated from 3A Composite USA Inc.'s Alucobond Aluminum Composite Material. Alucobond also clads a large portion of the medical center's exterior walls in combination with rain-screened terra cotta ceramic tile. Both interior and exterior columns and beams are covered in Alucobond ACM as well as the entryway canopies. Royalton Architectural Fabrication Inc. fabricated a total of 95,970 square feet of 4-mm-thick Alucobond PVDF-2 in custom Ahuja Crystal for the medical center. The Alucobond was installed with Royalton's Royaltech 200A wet-seal panel system by Carroll Glass Co.

The sweeping-curve design provides a visually striking exterior and makes the building interior easy to navigate, reducing foot traffic and improving patient sight lines to staff. Additionally, the curved design reduces wind and traffic noise from nearby Interstates 271 and 480 while offering panoramic views of the 53-acre park-like campus setting that includes protected wetlands.

"This project posed a number of challenges, especially with the hospital's large radius design and its grandiose two-story entrance," notes Stefan Winkler, president, Royalton Architectural Fabrication. "The panels were incorporated into the glazing in the window system and had to fit like a glove."

Wall panels were field measured and fabricated by elevation as the buildings were being constructed, according to Winkler. The hospital is expected to expand through the years to 600 beds with the new seven-story tower serving as the first of three planned towers, according to Meltzer.

Construction manager: Gilbane Building Co., Cleveland
Design architect: HKS Inc., Richmond, Va.
Corporate architect/interior designer: Array Healthcare Facilities Solutions Inc., King of Prussia, Pa.
Metal fabricator: Royalton Architectural Fabrication Inc., North Royalton, Ohio
Installer: Carroll Glass Co., Euclid, Ohio
Metal wall panels: 3A Composites USA Inc., Mooresville, N.C., www.alucobondusa.com