Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital Featured in Civil Engineering
At the edge of the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital serves a vital mission in the city’s healthcare system.
“The structure’s bold, cantilevered rectangles of blue vertically striped glass—evocative of DNA marker slides—enhance the city’s architecture as well. But creating this dramatic structure presented engineers with formidable challenges.”
“’Because of the public nature of the hospital, the leadership really wanted to do something that was timeless, of substance and quality, yet affordable and cost conscious,’ said Paul Strohm, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C, director of HOK’s global healthcare practice.”
“’We tried very hard to develop a distinctive building expression that transcends trends of style to be more timeless,’ said Strohm, who notes that the planes and frames of the glass facade give the building a sculptural appearance.”
“The 1.2 million-sq.-ft. structure comprises a 12-story tower for hospital beds and a 5-story podium, the two separated by an expansion joint. The new hospital has more than 300 beds and can treat 20 percent more patients in 33 percent less space than its predecessor, in large part because of the greater efficiencies realized in merging complementary hospital functions and mechanical systems in a single building.”
The geotechnical conditions at the site, which is located along the banks of the White River, presented the structural engineers with a conundrum. The site is characterized by between 2 and 27 feet of loose fill underlain by dense sands and gravels to a depth of roughly 60 ft. This layer in turn is underlain by hard glacial till.
The site also had a relatively high water table due to the proximity of the White River. A mat slab, drilled piers, and driven piles were considered, but auger-cast piles were chosen. Some 1,136 piles were installed, each having a diameter of 20 in. and an allowable design capacity of between 120 and 230 tons.
Although the project includes everything from a monumental set of stairs to elevated, hanging walkways and had to meet strict vibration control requirements, the biggest engineering challenge by far was designing the massive cantilevers on the east end of the patient bed tower that give the structure its distinctive form. Nine levels of the building are cantilevered from 45 ft to 60 ft.