CLEVELAND, Ohio — University Hospitals (UH) recently received two major awards for its Seidman Cancer Center, which opened in April of 2011 and is seeking LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design gave the hospital an American Architecture Award, while the Cleveland Engineering Society recognized the structure with the Award of Excellence in the category of Large Project — New Construction. Cannon Design, of St. Louis, served as architect on the project, while Cleveland-based Gilbane Building filled the role of general contractor.
UH comprises the largest health care system in the Northeast Ohio region and is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University. The network includes more than 24,000 employees, performing more than 4.5 million outpatient procedures and nearly 63,000 inpatient discharges annually. The new structure is one of the 12 freestanding cancer hospitals in the nation that has earned the National Cancer Institute’s rating as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The 375,000-square-foot, 10-story facility cost $260 million and was named in honor of Jane and Lee Seidman, who donated $42 million to the effort — the largest single donation in University Hospitals’ history. Lee Seidman founded The Motorcars Group in 1958, which went on to become one of the nation’s largest networks of auto dealerships. The pair have been active philanthropists ever since, and are particularly interested in cancer research.
“Jane and I have been fortunate with a successful business and that, coupled with the tradition of giving passed along to us by our parents, has provided us the inspiration to give back,” Seidman explained in a statement. "Cancer has impacted many of our loved ones and we are overjoyed to make this gift that may lead to finding cures for cancer.”
The new building consolidates all the cancer services at the medical center into one location. The structure also triples the size of areas dedicated to cancer-related services at the campus, adding 120 beds to the operation, with capacity to accommodate 30 more, if needed. The structure fits into UH’s $1 billion fundraising campaign, Discover the Difference, which has raised $685 million since it began in 2003.
The first visual aspect to jump out at most visitors will be the building’s striking curved face, which resembles the wall of a futuristic half-pipe, like those used by skiers or skateboarders in the Winter Olympics or X Games. This design allowed for larger lobby spaces and treatment areas to be installed in the lower levels, while also giving the structure a futuristic, otherworldly appeal. The design also allows for an abundance of natural lighting, as the entire face of the building is teeming with extremely wide windows.
The effect was achieved through collaboration between Bridgeton, Mo. firm Universe Cladding Solutions (UCS) and Huron Valley Glass of Ypsilaniti, Mich. UCS fabricated 59,000 square feet of Reynobond natural brushed aluminum composite material specifically for this project. This was the only natural metal composite material on the market that would allow for 62-inch wide sections, which were required by the design. Most of the panels were prefabricated and installed as-is, but the sections for the curved area had to be formed individually using hot air welding.
The panels were installed in Universe Cladding’s U2000R dry-joint rain screen system, as it allowed for the curved shape and also makes future repairs easier. Each panel can be removed separately, rather than having to remove entire sections of paneling to work on one of them.