Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children Provides a Welcoming Glow

We are proud to have been a member of the design team responsible for the new patient care building at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The new building, an expansion of the original hospital, will provide a dramatic new experience for patients and visitors of the children’s hospital.

The design team, led by FKP Architects, wanted to connect visitors, patients, and hospital staff to the beautiful DuPont mansion grounds and gardens. This design intent is seen throughout the hospital from arbor-pattern on the exterior of the building to furniture and finish selection within and the use of glass walls, large windows and skylights. The shimmering glass towers and 5 story atrium shower daylight into the main public space and patient areas and offer views to the historic Nemours Mansion site.

The Lighting Practice designed a system that would support the natural daylight and continue the effect into the evening. TLP incorporated directional accent lighting mounted at the edge of the balcony in the atrium to mimic the effect of sunlight. Uplights mounted above projecting balconies provide reflected fill light to emphasize the volume of the space. TLP also designed the exterior lighting for the children’s garden, site roadways, parking areas and entry canopy. Each space was designed to reinforce the soft welcoming forms in the building architecture and landscape.

Healthcare Design:
Bright Ideas at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

September 2, 2015 by Anne DiNardo, Senior Editor

Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., has a history of using forward-thinking design. When its original hospital was constructed in 1979, the building was one of the first children’s hospitals to incorporate column-free space and interstitial space for mechanical and utility systems.

When planning began on its latest inpatient pavilion project, Dr. David Bailey, president and CEO at Nemours, told FKP Architects (Houston) he expected the expansion to be every much as innovative as the first building was for its time. “He told us: Give us a building like no other,” says Michael A. Shirley, senior principal at FKP and senior project designer on the project.

Inspired by the gardens on the mansion grounds next to the hospital, the project team wanted to create a bold statement on the building façade. The team came up with an arbor-patterned skin that features multicolored glazing in a diagonal pattern, metal panels, and a solar shade pipe system.

When the team shared the idea with its youth advisory group, which provided input throughout the design process, the kids said it was “jumpin’”—an answer that seemed to align with the owner’s expectations.

When the contractor priced the glass skin design at $230 per square foot, putting it out of the client’s budget, FKP turned to its fabricators and installers to see if they could design a more cost-effective curtain wall solution. They re-engineered the system using prefab units, which cut the cost by roughly 50 percent.

“Although the diagonal pattern and the triangular colors suggest that the glass is modular in that way, they’re really rectangular sections of glass that have been twisted with battens on the outside of the building to create the diamond grid,” Shirley says.

The Showcase jurors applauded the façade solution as well as the children’s influence on the aesthetic of the exterior, giving it an Award of Merit in the 2015 Healthcare Design Showcase.

The $215 million project also stands out for its curved shape, access to daylight, and bright interior. Shirley says in an effort to maximize views from the patient rooms, the design team “stretched the width of the window a bit and as we did that, we created a curved building form.” The almond-shaped floorplates for the two buildings are connected by a five-story atrium with skylights and a southeastern-facing glass wall that serves as a horizontal light-harvesting system.

Read full article: Bright Ideas At Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children

Nemours Hospital for Children

Photography by Brad Feinknopf