The Piedmont Hospital Marcus Heart and Vascular Center

Project Description

Piedmont Atlanta Hospital is adding a new bed tower to improve access and capacity at their flagship campus. The need is to add 870,305 sf new construction and 45,583 sf renovation in this urban, community hospital that is landlocked on a prime site in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. This new tower, will expose a prominent corner providing street-level retail and circulation. The design focuses on enhancing the patient experience while supporting an increasing acuity of cases. Phase I will include 84 critical care beds and 48 acute care beds. Incorporating the Piedmont Heart Institute, the Marcus Heart and Vascular Center will have 6 operating rooms dedicated to cardiovascular cases as well as 8 Cath labs and 4 Electrophysiology labs. The hospital addition will also have 2 hybrid operating rooms and 5 general operating rooms, sterile processing and supply, a central energy plant and a clean loading dock. Phase II will include the fit up of the remaining six patient floors including 84 critical care beds and 192 acute care beds over six years.
Over a period of 12 months, a 15-story building was crafted to explore the notion of the ‘building as a threshold’ to represent the responsibility and response that architecture should have to its context. Accommodating its connection to the existing building, the architecture of the project makes a signature statement and embraces internal spaces that are being fashioned to echo the concept of Southern Hospitality. A multi-functional pedestrian plaza links the building to its people and hence transforms the very nature of the motor-driven existing conditions at the intersection of the key roads that border the project. The threshold between the outside and the inside creates a harmony that ensures that the main engine of the hospital functions seamlessly. The Diagnostics and Treatment chassis has been intricately planned to plug into the existing framework while dramatically enhancing the facility and making way for providing the healthcare of the future.

Design Challenge

The location of the potential expansion space calls for a response to 3 unique contexts: the existing hospital, a historic residential neighborhood and the commercial urban edge on Atlanta’s main corridor, Peachtree Street. Hence, the design needed to respond in a way that is clearly contemporary but respectful and inclusive to the existing hospital in both its scale and materiality. Dedicated to mitigating and responding to these existing conditions, the building is as much about movement through and around as it is a destination and event. The facades, transparent on the commercial face, allow for connectivity and visibility, and transition to more solid and private as one enters the hospital and residential areas. This is emphasized using sophisticated Terracotta for the façade that integrates with the existing hospital and historical brick on the residential side. The tower geometry, in response to the surrounding roadways and urban grid, speaks to continuous flow and movement. The interior journey and narrative continues the story with cues from Atlanta and Southern hospitality to create one cohesive and comfortable transition and an experience that is uniquely Atlanta and uniquely Piedmont. Piedmont Atlanta hospital strives to be a good steward to the environment. Performance analysis identified areas of the façade that required extra protection from the sun in the form of shading devices, to help reduce critical solar heat gains. Glazing was limited to around 40% of the overall building envelope & utilized high performance, Low-E glass. Curtain wall area was minimized and spandrel panels replaced shadow boxes. Mechanical systems were upgraded to utilize a high-efficiency steam boiler system to further reduce energy consumption as well as overall energy cost.

Physical Context

The site is in the zone of Atlanta’s biggest rehabilitation movement, the Beltline, and falls under a tenacious Overlay ordinance that poses challenges for a functionally driven design. The regulations have strict requirements for any developments regarding transportation, land use, greenspace and sustainable growth. These requirements were innovatively addressed by creating a plaza that mediates multiple street grades and enhances the patient, visitor, staff, and physician experience with access to enjoy the outdoors. A gracious outdoor plaza at the northwest corner of Collier and Peachtree Roads will boast 11,320 square feet of usable space that provide areas for sitting and standing. There will be a bosque of 22 trees that shade 64% of the space in the plaza. This road intersection is often called ‘Heartbreak hill’ as it makes one catch your breath as you walk up the grades. The Piedmont plaza will help alleviate that challenge by providing respite. There is space for communal healthy activities, such as yoga and educational camps. Vendor fairs, such as farmers markets and craft fairs, can be hosted in a way that speaks of health and wellness at the threshold. Twenty-nine of the trees that were cleared to prepare the building pad were identified to have good probability of drying well for use as furniture in the Tower. This commemorates the trees and allows them to live on forever in Piedmont’s future. Prior to removal of the trees, an “Honor the Trees and Transplant the Plants” event was held where over 1,000 people, including employees and neighbors, attended, and over 500 plants were transplanted from the construction site.