The new eight-story Novak Center for Children’s Health in Louisville, Ky., brings together the affiliated general pediatric and specialty clinics of the Health Sciences Center of the University of Louisville in one location.

GBBN Architects (Cincinnati) worked with client University of Louisville Physicians to provide an exceptional experience for children, visitors, and staff, starting the minute they arrive on campus.

This was achieved by designing an exterior that was influenced by children’s imaginations and forms they might draw.

Exterior design for MOBs

The 174,000-square-foot medical office building (MOB), which opened in October 2018, features curved lines and stacked forms.

The color palette is inspired by Kentucky’s regional flora and fauna, such as cardinal red to represent the state bird, blue for the sky, and green for Kentucky’s rolling fields.

The terra-cotta tiles of each major color group are composed of light, medium, and dark glaze colors to add depth, while textured silver metal panels were added to represent the state tree, the tulip poplar.

Addressing thermal comfort, heat gain

Different glazing types were used to address thermal comfort and reduce solar heat gain, as well, says Mark Lee, associate principal and project architect at GBBN.

Specifically, shade studies and energy models were used to help determine the appropriate one for each location, with the highest performing options used on the east, west, and upper south façades that aren’t shaded by other campus buildings.

The facility also features large expanses of glass to provide panoramic views of the surrounding hospital, university, and city. For example, clear glass is used in the staff rooms for unobstructed views while fritted patterns on exam room windows help maintain privacy.

“The design was intended to evoke a child’s sense of exploration through a design that piqued curiosity without being childish,” says Michael Lied, principal and director of healthcare at GBBN.

Project details:

Project name: Novak Center for Children’s Health

Client: University of Louisville Physicians

Location: Louisville, Ky.

Completion date:  October 2018

Executive architect, architect of record, core and shell design: GBBN

Associate architect, medical planning & and interior design: EYP Architecture & Engineering (formerly Stanley Beaman & Sears)

MEP engineer: CMTA

Civil engineer and landscape design: Carman

Structural engineer: Uzun + Case

Estimator: Robert Passe & Associates

Acoustician: KPFF

LEED consultant: Epsten Group

Medical equipment planning: BSA Lifestructures

Construction manager: Messer Construction Co.