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Cook Children's Medical Center South Tower Expansion

Fort Worth, Texas

The 314,000-square-foot, six-story Cook Children’s Medical Center South Tower expansion is slated to be completed in 2016. The project will include a new emergency department, 12 operating rooms and a heart center. The upper two floors of the tower will be left unfinished for further expansion. Gate was heavily involved in precast design, joining the team in a design-assist capacity when design documents were at 50 percent. The architect’s intent was to match the existing look of the hospital campus and achieve the look of natural limestone with concrete precast panels. The owners also desired a highly rated thermal precast panel system that assured long-term thermal resistance and eliminated concerns of condensation.

Design Assistance

Gate offered a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) and then assisted the design team, owner and construction manager to insure the GMP was maintained. Gate’s project management team tracked all of the changes which financial impacted the project.

BIM technology was used to control the design process which allows for a more fluid design and enhanced detailing. The Gate model was also used to help aid in the erection sequencing.

Precast System Details

76,000 SF of insulated, architectural precast with embedded thin brick and Gatestone limestone finish.

Precast Advantages

Healthcare facilities are faced with critical temperature and moisture management issues. Designed to meet the varied needs of both patients and staff, healthcare facilities put added importance on interior air quality, proper day-lighting strategies, and exterior aesthetics. All are virtues of Gate Precast's Great Barrier System. 

  • Thermal Efficiency: The efficiency of the exterior skin was important to the owner, Gate provided a highly rated thermal panel system with two layers of concrete separated by a 3” layer of continuous, rigid, insulation. No thermal bridges.
  • Speed and Ease of Construction: To accommodate a severely limited site in the heart of Fort Worth’s hospital district, Gate developed a plan utilizing three cranes to minimize disruption to the site and surrounding hospital traffic.

thermal envelope

The team at Gate and Thermomass assisted the design team by providing a series of thermal and moisture analyses to assure long-term thermal resistance and eliminate concerns of condensation and the dangers mold and mildew present. Specifically, an extensive series of isothermal and dewpoint analyses were conducted.  

The isothermal analysis is an efficient way to determine the in-place R-value of the wall assembly. It starts with a calculated steady-state R-value based on the individual materials that make up the wall assembly and then takes into account the effect of thermal bridges (solid concrete sections, penetrations through the insulation, etc) and produces the effective thermal resistance for the concrete sandwich wall system.  In the case of Gate’s Great Barrier System, there are no thermal bridges through the insulation, only the thermally efficient Thermomass fiber-composite wythe connectors. As such, the isothermal R-value of the wall panel is R-16.41. This is 100% more than the 2009 IECC code requirement in Zone 3 (R-8.13) and nearly 2 times the efficiency of a more conventional brick/block assembly (R-8.85).

The dew point analysis is based on the theory of water vapor migration presented in the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals and determines if water vapor will travel through the wall assembly or if condensation will accumulate on the exposed interior surface of the wall.  Given the nature of a health care facility, this is of utmost importance.  

For the Cook's Medical Center South Tower Expansion, the wall section was analyzed in extreme winter and summer conditions and the results proved that there was no potential for condensation to occur. This is a key benefit to a barrier system like an insulated precast wall assembly. There is no cavity, so any dewpoint occurs in the insulation or exterior wythe. There are no thermal bridges, so moisture has no path to follow. The concrete walls are resistant to moisture and the continuous low-perm insulation products Gate specifies creates a moisture barrier, preventing vapor diffusion and air infiltration.

Overall, the Great Barrier System saved more than 35% in annual BTUs when compared to a brick and block assembly and provided the Cook Medical Center South Tower Expansion an environment that is both comfortable, quiet, and moisture resistant, all going a long way in ensuring patient recovery.

From the Architect:

"Gate Precast’s collaborative design-assist program was instrumental in helping our team achieve the milestone schedule and budget goals for the exterior skin. Advanced technologies were specifically invented for this project to emulate the sophisticated appearance and detailing of the original brick and limestone hospital building."

Sean Patrick Nohelty, AIA
David M. Schwarz Architects (DMSAS)

General Information

Jacksonville, FL
David M. Schwarz Architects and Callison RTKL
Linbeck Construction
Cook Children's Medical Center

Precast Systems

Project Aesthetics

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More Information

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