MEDITECH Southcoast Building,
Fall River, Mass.
Situated in southeastern Massachusetts with a panoramic glass façade,
the Medical Information Technology Inc. (Meditech) Building, also called
“Meditech Southcoast,” is a four-story, 122,000-square-foot structure
located in Fall River, Mass. The building is located on a 17-acre
site that also features a pond—a key amenity that Payette architects Jeff
DeGregorio and Matt Bandzak considered when designing the structure. Through
the use of multiple types of glazing, both the internal organization of
the program and the development of the facades are open to views of the
DeGregorio and Bandzak are well versed on designing with glass.
“Glass is a huge part of most every project on which we work,” says DeGregorio.
“We specialize in designing major technology buildings, laboratories/healthcare
facilities. These projects are places of intense habitation where there
may be many hours spent inside so our idea is to promote the outdoors
as part of the indoors [and that can be done through the use of glass].”
Bandzak adds that sustainability is another reason they often use glass
in their designs.
“Glass allows you a way to control the environment,” says Bandzak.
The Meditech project is a prime example of how glass and glazing can be
used to create a sustainable structure. To meet the state’s stringent
thermal requirements, the façade integrates products designed to
provide advanced energy performance and indoor environmental quality.
“Depending on which side of the building you’re looking at, each side
has a different appearance because [different glazing systems] are used
on each side,” says DeGregorio. This was done as a way to optimize solar
orientation. Kawneer Co. Inc. served as the window and curtainwall supplier,
while Prelco was the glass fabricator.
The south elevatioin features a curved glass wall and side roof overhangs
that were installed to shield summer sun, but allow in the low winter
sunlight. The curtainwall is hung from the roof to allow for a highly
transparent butt-glazed opening. Thin steel plate beams and tension rods
were also used at each floor level to resist only the wind load.
The north elevation features repetitive windows constructed with triple-glazed
insulating glass to minimize heat loss at openings within the rainscreen
terracotta façade. The windows are also contrasted by three large
glass slots that provide views of the building’s three communicating stairways.
The east and west ends are clad in zinc and aluminum panels and extend
the use of the rainscreen wall from the north façade.
Tower Glass Co. of Woburn, Mass., served as the contract glazier for the
project. Rob Nickerson says that while the job was pretty well designed
by the time his firm was awarded the contract, he was heavily involved
with waterproofing issues and detailing and glass make-up designs
with performance criteria.
“Validation of the thermal performance values of our systems was a demanding
endeavor,” says Nickerson, who adds that the project as a whole was also
very challenging at times. He said the curtainwall shop drawings actually
went through three reviews before receiving final approval. Considering
the complexity of the project, such attention to detail was critical.
“The architects’ design performance and aesthetics proved to be excellent
and that’s the reason this project has gained the notoriety
it has after completion. They really looked out for the owner’s interest,”
said Nickerson. AG
Owner: Medical Information Technology Inc.
General Contractor: Ford Construction Corp.
Contract Glazier: Tower Glass
Status: Completed in 2008
Architects' Guide to Glass & Metal
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