American art pottery in architecture

01 Nov 2011

A defining artefact of the Cincinnati community is brought to life through Mercy Hospital West

This new, 250-bed community hospital combines two existing hospitals into one on a greenfield site in Cincinnati, Ohio. A distinct site with a steep grade offered the opportunity to develop a strong connection between nature, healing and architecture – as shown by research to impact overall health and wellbeing.

The site will create a connection between patients, nature and the changing seasons. A tapering ridge to southeast will create a sense of connection to the larger community and regional patterns familiar to patients, families and staff. Both of these topographical features will create accommodation and presence that will settle the new hospital into its place and purpose.

Connections to the community and its context were also considered in the form and design of the exterior skin. Cincinnati is home to the renowned Rookwood Art Pottery Company, which was founded in 1880 and later won international acclaim as America's best art pottery. To provide a unique connection to the Cincinnati community, the design employs a glazed tile mosaic curtainwall system – comprising 11 different colours and 19 different shapes of ceramic tile – connecting the hospital to the proud tradition of art pottery production in the region.

Revit was used to model the more than 160,000 exterior tiles individually so that they could be scheduled automatically by the software. This treatment provides a strong visual statement that will give the new hospital a unique presence in the community. These design elements, including a special gradient colour application, are carried into interior spaces for a coherent visual statement.

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