Waterfront views for rehab patients

Thursday 25 Apr 2013

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital opens in Boston with 75% of first floor open to public

Global architectural and design firm Perkins+Will has celebrated the opening of the new 262,000 sq ft Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. The design process, led by Ralph Johnson and managed by Perkins+Will’s Boston office, resulted in a state-of-the-art healthcare resource for patients, families, and the community at large. The Charlestown facility expands the offerings of the current 42-year-old hospital at Nashua Street and features 132 private patient rooms, large common areas open to the community and a thoughtful design that promotes wellness for people with disabilities.

“The vision for the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital was to create a space for patients that promotes healing and addresses the needs of the widest possible audience," said Ralph Johnson, FAIA, LEED AP, Design Director at Perkins+Will. “What resulted is a building design that is transparent and carefully researched.”

Located on a remediated brownfield parcel in the Charlestown Navy Yard, the building is a new gathering place for the community - dedicating 75% of the first floor to public use and integrating with the Boston HarborWalk. Once part of a timber receiving basin, the landscape design incorporates reclaimed timbers throughout the site and takes full advantage of waterfront views of the Boston skyline. A trail running along the waterfront features therapeutic equipment and offers patients the opportunity to encourage the healing process by performing physical therapy on a variety of different landscaped surfaces. 

Tied to the site’s naval yard history, the gray materials of the façade are reminiscent of the military battleships and aircraft carriers berthed at the Yard for much of the 20th century. The scale of the building is visually reduced by dividing the structure into two connected sections - an 8-storey patient tower and a 3-storey therapeutic gymnasium and pool. The building can be viewed from all sides - there is no back. Each section of the divided structure utilises a variety of materials to create visual interest and reveal a slightly different building from each angle. Glass curtainwall is generously integrated into the design creating transparency and an abundance of natural light throughout the interior resulting in an atmosphere that is open and inviting. 

The new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital incorporates inclusive design into every aspect of the facility. Perkins+Will’s design team was dedicated to researching and testing each component of the design so that the building addresses the needs of the widest possible audience, irrespective of ability. The team worked with accessibility experts and conducted extensive research on their own to create a hospital of the future, one that went beyond only meeting ADA requirements.

Every aspect of the building design has been considered - the entry is at street level; the reception desk is low and rounded; the patient rooms have custom cabinetry and automated shades, patient lifts, private bathrooms, and amenities such as private refrigerators, sleeping accommodations for family members and a wireless connection for patients and guests. The building program includes outpatient services, a pool for aquatherapy, two large gymnasiums, an activities-of-daily-living suite, transitional patient apartment, and satellite gyms embedded on two inpatient floors. 

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