SageGlass Enhances Indoor-Outdoor Connection at Arkansas Hospital
March 19, 2015
The new Mercy Orthopedic Hospital in Fort Smith, Ark., is using electronically tintable SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, to tame the sun for comfort and efficiency and to make an architectural statement about the organization’s healthcare mission. Mercy Orthopedic is part of Mercy Health, the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S., with more than 750 healthcare facilities run by the Sisters of Mercy. The former ambulatory surgical center was expanded into a full 24-bed orthopedic hospital for aging baby boomers as part of Mercy’s $192 million master plan to put healthcare access closer to where patients live.
With so many facilities, the Sisters established a number of branded architectural features for all new construction, including the Lantern and the Cross, a unique glass curtain wall entrance to Mercy buildings in which windows and mullions form a crucifix symbol. Views from the building were critical to the architectural design of the new expansion. The hospital faces west to gain the most natural light, and the exterior landscape features lush, gorgeous gardens to provide patients with serene views of the outdoors.
“Mercy created a set of architectural principles that reflected their brand and commitment to the community so that their facilities would be recognizable,” said Michelle Teague, an architect at Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. “They wanted the architecture to enhance the experience of patients while preserving a connection to the outdoors. But the west-facing orientation of the entrance posed significant sun control problems like glare and heat gain inside the reception area.”
Using mechanized shades would have been impractical because the entrance is a multi-story glass curtain wall. It would have also blocked the symbolic view of the cross, as well as the indoor-outdoor connection. The Sisters ultimately chose SageGlass dynamic glass because it solves the glare challenge while preserving the outdoor views. SageGlass is electronically tintable glass for windows, skylights and curtain walls. It tints automatically or on demand to control sunlight, without blinds or shades, maintaining a connection to the outdoors and reducing energy consumption. “SageGlass helps create a visually stunning effect from the inside as the tinting windows frame the Lantern and Cross,” said Teague. “It also provides an unbroken connection to beautiful outdoor spaces for the benefit of patients and employees. It was a win-win for the interior spatial experience.”
Dynamic glazing also addressed Mercy’s daylighting, energy efficiency and green building objectives. Teague said the sisters aggressively pursue energy savings in their lighting specifications and HVAC systems in new building projects. SageGlass maximizes the amount of natural daylight entering the building throughout the day while blocking glare. It also helps reduce cooling loads on hot, sunny days.
SageGlass was also used on the south side of the building to control sun glare and heat at the surgical department entrance. The south façade is a single-story glass wall featuring the signature Lantern and Cross architecture.
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