CHOC Builds Playful Surroundings for Child Patients

ORANGE, Calif. — Repeatedly recognized for its excellent design, the brightly colored Bill Holmes Tower at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County opened in March 2013 following a construction process that applied the high-tech tools and lean principles.

FKP Architects of Houston served as the design architect and architect of record on the 425,000-square-foot tower. Wood Bughard & Swain Architecs of Irvine, Calif., was the construction administration and associate architect, and McCarthy Building Companies of Newport Beach, Calif., served as the general contractor.

The seven-story tower holds the region’s only dedicated pediatric operating rooms, emergency department, imaging department and laboratory. The building also features updated amenities including an in-house multimedia center, pre-teen and teen rooms, patient outdoor play area, café and outdoor garden, family resource center, and meditation and prayer center.

From the onset of the project, architects aimed to create an iconic building that would reflect the vision of providing the best facility and patient outcomes for the children of California, according to Gary Owens, AIA, LEED AP, senior principal with FKP.
“A prime deliverable was for the building exterior to express the strength of care available at the hospital and to serve as a beacon for arriving families, patients and the community. Furthermore, the building’s layered forms, interlaced into the interior design of the building, mirrored the layering of the surrounding communities and the various geographic regions in Southern California,” he said.
Another goal of the design was to create an environment that would be a source of inspiration to visiting families and to also create a place of discovery for child patients, Owens added.

“The architecture of the building, both exterior and interior, projects a playful and delightful feeling,” Owens said. “From the initial arrival and throughout the child’s visit, the composition of forms, shapes, color, light and encountered experiences achieves the original goal: for the building to support the patient, the families, the staff and the vision of providing quality pediatric care.”

Located in an urban setting, the tower was constructed on a tight 2.4-acre site that was formerly a two-level parking structure adjacent to the existing hospital. The site required critical planning in order to minimize disruption and keep the project on schedule.

“Utilizing the industry’s most advanced software and field hardware along with design-assist delivery greatly aided in an early completion by allowing all key team members to seamlessly collaborate from the beginning of the design phase through to the grand opening,” said Max Burchman, project director with McCarthy.

A major challenge in the project was coordinating deliveries of large structural members, mechanical equipment and miscellaneous bulk deliveries, according to Burchman. The team attained a lane closure permit in order to safely unload trucks without halting traffic. Just-in-time delivery was also used for construction materials and the export of construction debris and dirt.

McCarthy implemented an Electronic Plan Room to streamline planning, free up office space and enable the team to view documents simultaneously. Additionally, the contractor created an Electronic Facilities Manual for Project Closeout to provide organized electronic copies of construction documents, as-builts, O&Ms, training videos and warranties, Burchman said.

In order to minimize construction issues and develop resolutions, BIM technology was used in the preconstruction phase and construction phases to create high building confidence and extreme accuracy.

“BIM clash detection and resolution identified thousands of clashes of varying magnitudes over the course of the project. With each adjustment made to the different trades, the 3-D model was updated automatically, thereby giving the team the latest coordinated BIM content,” Burchman said.