Project category: New construction (completed May 2011)

Chief administrator: Jean Elrick, M.D., Senior Vice President, Administration, (617) 726-0430

Firms: NBBJ, (212) 924-9000; Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, (617) 218-4800

Design team: Interior Design, Lighting Design, Graphics, Wayfinding (NBBJ); Structural Engineer (McNamara/Salvia, Inc.); MEP Engineer/Fire Protection/Low-Voltage (Thompson Consultants, Inc.); Civil & Traffic Engineer (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.); Landscape Designer (Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.); Programming (Kurt Salmon Associates); Construction Manager (Turner Construction Company)

Photography: ©Anton Grassl/Esto; ©Frank Oudeman

Total building area (sq. ft.): 535,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not available

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not available

The Lunder Building is a high-tech, flexible structure that commemorates the bicentennial of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and advances it into a third century of providing healthcare. The 535,000-square-foot facility houses procedural programs, 150 inpatient beds, and expanded emergency and radiation oncology departments. Throughout the design process, the clinical planning reflected a commitment to performance-based design, a process utilizing research to reduce falls and injury; minimize medical error and infection; improve staff productivity and communication; and enhance patient and family healing, comfort, and satisfaction.

Located on a compact urban site within the MGH medical center campus in downtown Boston, the programmatically-dense building, split into a procedural program base and an upper bed tower, connects to five existing buildings via bridges and walkways. The architects designed the patient floor plan as two interlocking, C-shaped groups of single-patient rooms, traversed by a central circulation spine. This allows for more rooms on the constrained site, minimizes staff travel times to central supply and support areas, and brings abundant natural light to not only the patient rooms but staff support areas as well. The architects also designed the bed tower to link two gardens – a five-story indoor atrium, and an outdoor bamboo garden on the sixth floor – as research has demonstrated a link between views to nature and the quality of the healing process.

A major focus of the research effort was on patient safety. Design strategies include same-handed rooms; ceiling-mounted patient lifts in every room and private toilet; wider entry into the toilet room so staff can walk shoulder-to-shoulder with the patient; and a toilet room entrance aligned with the center of the bed for the shortest number of steps.

The Radiation Oncology Department, though necessarily located below-grade, incorporates soft lighting, bamboo accent walls, large-scale, garden-themed graphics, and both open and intimate spaces to create a sense of calm for all patients.

Finally, sustainability permeated all design and construction decisions of this LEED Gold-certified building. Green roofs cover more than half of the building’s footprint area and harvest rainwater for irrigating the gardens. Low-flow plumbing fixtures help reduce water consumption by 1.4 million gallons per year. More than 1/3 of construction materials were recycled or locally sourced. The exterior glazing system, vertical louvers, and operable shading devices minimize heat gain while allowing daylight to enter, improving thermal performance by 39%, reducing baseline solar heat gain by 31%. Overall, the building reduces energy demand by ten percent.