A Healing Place
center with lots of glass walls is so committed to transparency that it posts its patient outcomes data on its website.
Now that Project for Progress is complete, DHMC sports three curtain walls: along the East Mall; atop the Rubin Building, which houses the Norris Cotton Cancer Center; and at the entrance to the Doctors' Office Building. [For more about "curtain walls," see the video.]
The glass facade of the East Mall is a big part of what makes this new part of the complex so distinctive. But it was the Rubin Building's curtain wall, constructed when three new floors of cancer research labs opened in 2003, that first proved the expansion would be no rote imitation of the existing facility. There was something deliciously defiant about placing such a startlingly new design element in a spot that towers over the familiar main entrance to the original facility.
By night, this glass wall reveals a three-story atrium that exudes warm golden hues. By day, it is a communal space where the building's researchers can mingle and, perhaps, spark some scientific genius through informal collaboration. Designing a workplace around the needs and interests of its occupants (instead of around the dictates of administrators or cost-cutters) is still considered radical and is thus more rare than it should be.
The curtain wall that forms the front entrance of the new Doctors' Office Building is the most delicious thrill of all. Just as was the case with the famous glass house that Philip Johnson designed for himself in New Canaan, Conn.—itself a knockoff of a glass house that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created in Illinois for Dr. Edith Farnsworth—the relative seclusion of the location adds to the intrigue by suggesting that not much separates the inside space from the natural world outside. The abundant sunlight and views of the hospital's wooded setting soothe those sitting in the
The Rubin Building's curtain wall proved the expansion would be no rote imitation of the existing facility. There was something deliciously defiant about placing such a startlingly new design element over the familiar main entrance.