Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Charlestown, Massachusetts

Project Info
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Completion Date: 2013
Square Footage: 262,000
Best Healthcare Design, 2014
IIDA New England

Healthcare Environment Awards, Acute Care Category Winner, 2013
Contract / The Center for Health Design

Preservation Achievement Award, 2013
Boston Preservation Alliance

Sustainable Design Award Citation, 2013
Boston Society of Architects

The 262,000 square foot (24,340 square meter) Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, which replaces an outdated facility at a different location, features 132 private patient rooms for adults and children requiring advanced inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. Spaulding is the nationally recognized teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is part of the Partners Healthcare network. The building is a direct result of extensive master planning exercises conducted by Perkins+Will from 2005-2008. The new building and campus design was conceptualized as a therapeutic tool for patients. It is located on a former Charlestown Navy Yard waterfront parcel that includes the City Harborwalk.

A site development condition imposed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority was that 75% of the first floor be open to the public. Hence, the ground floor includes a pool and conference center open to the community, as well as a reimagined patient dining room that includes both indoor and outdoor dining open to the public. View corridors to the harbor from the adjacent residential neighborhood are preserved, and the public uses the entry drive to access the Harborwalk. In addition to ground floor recreation spaces, the building massing supports a series of covered and open rooftop outdoor spaces for long-term residents to enjoy in a range of weather conditions.

The program includes a large swimming pool for aquatherapy, two large gymnasia, activities-of-daily-living suite, transitional patient apartment, and satellite gyms embedded on two inpatient floors. To offer their patients the best rehabilitative environment in the world, Spaulding has integrated a broad range of research facilities, including areas for gait and movement analysis, muscle regeneration, bio-robotics, and longitudinal effectiveness studies. As the fields of robotics and regenerative medicine continue to develop, these frontiers are making treatments possible that were not dreamed of a decade ago. As the borders between research and clinical activity evolve and technology advances, the key to successful design of research spaces is accessibility and flexibility.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has a strong sustainability and resilience story, beginning with the site itself. The site is a remediated 19th century industrial brownfield. It is the first building on the Boston waterfront to voluntarily raise the elevation of its ground floor in recognition of current and anticipated sea level rise and future storm surge predictions. All mechanical and electrical infrastructure is located on the roof, well above flood levels.

Gardens surrounding the building utilize native, drought-tolerant vegetation and provide therapeutic trails, bounce walls, a putting green, and a basketball half-court for patient use.

The interior environment maximizes daylight and views but balances this transparency with a high-performance building envelope, including triple glazing for enhanced energy performance. Gymnasia, multi-purpose rooms and administrative areas utilize operable windows for both natural ventilation and passive survivability in an emergency situation; patient rooms feature key-operated windows for emergencies. A series of green roofs mitigates stormwater runoff, reduces cooling loads and heat-island effect, and provides therapeutic environments for building inhabitants.

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