Project category: New construction (completed June 2012)

Chief administrator: Mike Warren, CEO, (205) 939-9895

Firms: HKS, Inc., (214) 969-5599; Giattina Aycock Studio, (205) 933-9060

Design team: Architecture and Interiors (HKS, Inc.); Associate Architect (GA Architecture Studio, Inc.); Program Manager (KLMK Group, LLC); Structural Engineering Consultant (HKS Structural); MEP Consulting Engineer (CCRD Partners); Landscape Design (Macknally Ross Land Design)

Photography: HKS, Inc.

Total building area (sq. ft.): 750,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $351

Total construction cost (excluding land): $263,446,309

Children’s Health System of Alabama (CHS) is a major children’s hospital within the medical district of Birmingham.  The new expansion, Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children (BRHFC), would be primarily inpatient and would include emergency, surgery and imaging departments. The expansion required the need for clear way-finding to negotiate the various CHS facilities – parking structures, inpatient and outpatient facilities.

CHS’s desire to differentiate BRHFC from the University of Alabama medical buildings led to an expression of cantilevered planes of glass framed by white concrete for the 12 story building.  The upper bed floors curve slightly to taper at the ends. Different glass types were introduced to subtly add variation to the curtainwall. Vertical bands of colored metal panels which are lit at night introduce playfulness to the façade.

The intuitive way finding was accomplished through architectural landmarks, floor colors, floor themes and numerous views to the outside for orientation.  On the lower floors the corridors have windows on one side to provide views to the outside and orientation for patients. Each patient floor has colors and themes that give it a unique identity as well as gorgeous views at the end of each corridor.
It was important to brand the campus and integrate the logo. To accomplish this, the floor pattern begins a curvy “patient-journey” and incorporates colored circles originally from the main hospital.  When the “patient-journey” pattern intersects a reception desk or nurse station a red circle is located on the floor. The patients and families are told “When you need help…look for the red circle”.