Johns Hopkins Hospital – Nelson-Harvey Building Baltimore, MD

Innovative Overcladding for Major Renovation

  • Details: 27,164 square feet of SlenderWall, 155 panels
  • Finish:Overclad precast panels with factory-applied Endicott brick facing and factory-applied closed-cell foam insulation, with proprietary H2Out advanced sealant system with leak detection
  • Architect:Ayers Saint Gross, with Wilmot Sanz
  • Owner:Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Contractor:Whiting-Turner
  • Awards:ACI Award of Excellence, Certified Baltimore Green Stars Building
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Johns Hopkins Hospital operates a dense, urban medical campus in Baltimore with an outsize global reputation. Nestled amid the pioneering clinical and research facilities are the Nelson-Harvey Building, a 1970s-era modernist structure with narrow ribbon windows and long expanses of brick.

After decades of wear, the hand-laid brick envelope of the Johns Hopkins 9-story Nelson/Harvey inpatient facility began failing. The window system was outdated and the building had no insulation in the wall system.

The architectural firms Wilmot Sanz and Ayers Saint Gross needed a solution that met two criteria: one, that is was lightweight enough to prevent any need for additional superstructure or foundation costs; and two, that the facility would be able to stay operational during the exterior renovation. SlenderWall® met the requirements. Its 28 lbs. per square foot specification and unique composite construction allowed for the re-cladding to take place without the removal of the old fascia. The 158 SlenderWall panels (27,164 sq. ft.) were designed with a factory-applied Endicott brick facing, maintaining continuity with the campus and the original 1970’s exterior. Johns Hopkins also chose to include factory-applied closed-cell foam insulation and the proprietary H2Out advanced sealant rain screen system with leak detection. The addition of these options provided not only savings in time and on-site trades, but insurance against future air and water infiltrations, as well as continuous insulation adding significantly to the enclosure’s thermal performance and excellent acoustical STC ratings.

The design team strategized on how to address the exterior, and make it completely weathertight and add sufficient insulation. "It needed to be a lightweight system and it had to match the Johns Hopkins signature brick aesthetic on the campus, especially with its adjacency to the iconic Billings Building," says Dan McKelvey, an associate principal and building envelope expert with Ayers Saint Gross. "The only product we found that met all our criterion was SlenderWall."

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