Hopkins hires top firms for expansion

After long search process, two businesses chosen to design medical towers

September 05, 2004|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN STAFF

The Johns Hopkins Hospital has hired two national leaders in health care design to plan the $800 million expansion that will become the institution's new face for the 21st century.

The Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership, known as ZGF, of Portland, Ore., and Perkins & Will, of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, have been chosen to design the two buildings that are expected to transform Hopkins' medical campus, the Cardiovascular & Critical Care Tower and the Children's & Maternal Hospital.

As the largest hospital project in Maryland history, Hopkins' expansion will drastically change the appearance of the medical campus and the way it provides health care.

The two architectural firms were hired after a lengthy process in which Hopkins officials considered more than two dozen of the top health care designers in the country, especially those with extensive experience in large-scale projects. They originally sought the commission separately, but Hopkins brought them together.

"It's obviously a very important commission for both of us because Hopkins is one of the world's leading hospitals," ZGF partner Robert Frasca said.

What the hospital builds this decade "is what Johns Hopkins is going to be for the next 50 to 100 years," he said. "This really has to represent Hopkins in the 21st century."

ZGF is the design architect for the 11-story, 530,000-square- foot children's hospital; Perkins & Will is the design architect for the 11-story, 860,000-square-foot critical care tower. ZGF is also serving as the "executive architect" coordinating all design work for the 1.3-million-square- foot expansion, which will rise on the north side of Orleans Street between Broadway and Wolfe Street and include a new main entrance to the medical campus.

This is the third major Hopkins-related commission for ZGF, which opened a Washington office after winning a 1995 design competition to expand the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.

It is one of two firms that designed the $59 million Bunting Blaustein building on Orleans Street and an $80 million cancer research tower next to it, both for Hopkins' medical school. It also designed a new home for the Carnegie Institution that is nearing completion on Hopkins' Homewood campus. Frasca, Margie DeBolt and Kelly Davis lead the ZGF design team.

Like ZGF, Perkins & Will works in many different areas and has received widespread acclaim for its work.

It was one of the designers of the $218 million Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building that opened last year at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It also designed portions of Maryland General Hospital. This is its first major project for Hopkins. Ralph Johnson, Eric van Aukee and Bob Cull lead the design effort for Perkins & Will.

Hopkins wants to use the buildings - with the Weinberg Building, home of the Comprehensive Cancer Center - to create a new front door for the hospital. And planners want to make sure that the buildings work well for the doctors, nurses and other health care providers inside.

"What makes this place great is the extraordinary faculty and extraordinary nursing staff," said Sally MacConnell, vice president of facilities for the Johns Hopkins Health System. "We want to involve them every step of the way."

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