An Outside-In View

The exterior of the new SMHS building lends a perspective on its interior functions

September 2nd, 2015

A new school year is almost upon us…the final school year in the old School of Medicine and Health Sciences! After almost a decade of planning, design, and construction, it's exciting to think that next year we will be preparing to finally open the doors of the new facility.

Here is what you would see if you visited the site today:

The construction team is working hard to finish up the exterior shell before the cold winds blow. The completion of the exterior gives the casual observer a hint of the activities that occur behind the building's cladding. Smaller openings are located in the research areas, while larger ribbon windows wrap the office functions and massive expanses of curtainwall identify the many public spaces.

A glazing pattern on the windows was designed to create a more dynamic aesthetic to the overall look of the building. The Design Team was challenged by the Design Committee to let in light in while still providing privacy to users. There are actually three different types of glazing patterning – frosted, clear and a perforated dot matrix – on the windows to create the overall configuration. On the fifth level, the mechanical penthouse and clerestory atrium enclosures have been built, and the South stair of the Learning hall has been fabricated into place. And, of course, the biggest, or at least tallest, visual change is the removal of the tower crane, which left the site on August 6.

The exterior of the building is mainly made up of 2 colors of brick - red and a neutral. On the north and south areas of the building we have what we call bump-outs, which are extruded elements of the building that house interior educational spaces. The bump-out on the North is nearing completion while the South bump-out is in the process of having brick laid.

While the focus has been on the exterior, on the interior, several of the office areas have been primed and painted, and many of the interior glazing system frames have been installed at the office suite entries, conference rooms, and education spaces. The interior color scheme not only provides vibrant splashes of color; it also acts as a wayfinding tool for occupants. Leisure Blue, Yarrow (yellow) and Obstinate Orange are the names of the main colors which cover 20% of the wall surfaces. The remaining 80% will consist of neutral colors. The Design Committee selected these colors to reflect the naturally-occurring North Dakota landscape – the golden yellow of a wheat field, the earthy brown/orange of the Badlands, and the blue of our vast, open views of the sky.

Kudos to the PCL and Community Contractors team, which celebrated 200,000 man hours with no time lost incidents. There can be anywhere from 75-150 workers on site daily, making this number even more impressive. You can see the construction process through a live web cam, which can be viewed here: http://oxblue.com/open/pcl/UNDSMHS. A time lapse video on the website illustrates the process over the year and shows how far we have come in a relatively short time.

Over the new few months, exterior glazing will continue along the West and South sides of the building as we prepare for winter. Interior walls will be sheet rocked, mudded and painted, and wires will be pulled throughout the building for power and data. The progress of enclosing the on-site generators will continue, and the South atrium suspended stairs will begin construction.

It was once told that when the current facility operated as a hospital a time capsule was hidden within the walls. As part of commemorating the construction of the SMHS and the future of the healthcare in North Dakota the SMHS has a begun assembling a time capsule for the new building. Various departments within the SMHS have provided objects representing the instruments, technology, and tools used in today's healthcare, teaching practices, and research. The time capsule will be registered and sealed within the building.

If you didn't participate in the time capsule, there is still a chance to make your own mark on the School. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences is going to change the way people look at health care delivery and education across the United States. To that end, while the new UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences is fully funded by the North Dakota State Legislature, the School is offering Naming Rights to enhance and further elevate the student, faculty and program opportunities in the new facility. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Senior Development Director Dave Miedema at (701) 777.4933 or visit http://www.med.und.edu/naming-opportunities/index.cfm.

Source: Lonnie Laffen, JLG Architects

campus construction design health medical north dakota publication SMHS UND university


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