Hospital’s ‘butterfly’ design achieved by metal

The city of Chicago is known for its amazing architecture, and thanks in part to metal, it has another feather in its cap. The Tower Hospital at Rush University Medical Center, which was completed in 2012, has a unique butterfly shape. The architects used an “inside-out approach to design,” according to an article on the Metal Construction Association’s website.

The building was designed with is users in mind. The floor plan is essentially a triangle, which brings the patients closer together. This was especially important for the nurses who tend to all of them.

“We let that impact what the design needed to be,” said architect John Moorhead, the senior project designer at Perkins+Will. “The nurses talked about the number of miles they walk per shift. They were particularly interested in creating a plan that pushed together the patient rooms.”

But how to achieve the look? Metal. The firm used approximately 250,000 square feet of Alucobond Aluminum Composite Material in bone white to create the building.

“Metal provided flexibility and affordability,” Moorhead told the MCA. “It was a perfect choice to give the crisp white look that Rush was interested in, and it was easily adaptable to the curvilinear shape of the building.”

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Achieving the Tower’s goals

At one point, the butterfly shape of the building was almost scrapped in favor of a more standard rectangular shape, in order to stay within budget. But using the aluminum composite material became the answer they were seeking.

“Alucobond is durable, doesn’t warp and can be bent into any shape,” said architectural marketing manager Ben Branhan, of 3A Composites. “The Rush Tower has a lot of bends and curves. Alucobond provided the vehicle for architects to do that.”

The 840,000 square-feet hospital has 304 single-patient rooms. It’s located on the Eisenhower expressway, so it’s very visible to commuters.

According to Moorhead, one of the architects, “They really wanted to project an image of fresh, clean, modern and technically savvy. It is very crisp white, part of the image they wanted to project.”

Metal was a crucial factor in achieving this architectural masterpiece, and it can work for your needs as well. If you’d like to know more about how a building’s design is shaped by metal in Central Florida, contact us today!