The vertical expansion of Texas Childrens Hospital’s Feigin Research Center was designed to make research more efficient. The expansion adds eight floors to the existing building, creating a 20-story research tower focused on the advancement of pediatric medicine.

The project added more than 200,000 sq ft for research laboratories, clinical research offices and a simulation training center. It also included renovations on the lower existing floors.

Many of the project team members had worked together on past renovations of the building, creating a synergy that helped carry the team through some significant challenges. The building’s complex mechanical system infrastructure was one such challenge.

For many of the team members, the research center represents one of the first applications on which they had used building information modeling. To find the optimum solution for gathering, rerouting and expanding the extensive piping, air-handling chases and ductwork of the existing building, the design team and contractor used a BIM 3-D model to try different ideas and develop the best answers. They accomplished in one half-day what would have taken weeks of back and forth revisions to solve.

BIM also helped the project team with the expansion of the facility’s vivarium—an addition built atop an underground, three-level parking structure. Using BIM, the team was able to sort out the right solution virtually, saving time and money.

The design team helped the owner shift from its long-standing palette of façade materials towards a new design that would freshen the campus aesthetic and help the building stand out as a campus icon. To create a beacon effect, the design team employed a new glass that would allow for more transparency and emit a glowing effect at night.

The team selected many samples, worked with the client to narrow down the choices, then installed 10 different panels in the building’s lower floors as mock-ups. The clients were able to examine the glass choices in place at different times of day from the exterior and interior.

Key Players

Submitted by: FKP Architects
Owner: Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston
General contractor: W.S. Bellows Construction Corp., Houston
Architect: FKP Architects, Houston
MEP engineer: Burns Delatte & McCoy Inc., Houston
Structural and civil engineer: Walter P Moore, Houston
Interior design: Inventure Design, Houston
Curtain wall consultant: Peter M. Muller Inc., Houston
Elevator consultant: Persohn/Hahn Associates Inc., Houston
Landscape consultant: Charles Tapley/White Oak Studio, Houston
Lighting consultant: Michael J. Smith, Houston
Security consultant: Kroll, Houston