CCIA/Cooper Hospital Parking Garage
What a Garage Ought to Be
This design-build parking garage project was a collaboration involving a city hospital and a county improvement authority. Serving hospital employees and visitors with a total 1,590 parking spaces, the new nine-level project has introduced structured parking as part of a general upgrade to facilities in an older urban neighborhood.
As with many development projects, the garage was planned to be built before the other improvements were started. The design anticipated a fully conditioned parking pavilion pedestrian connection to the adjacent hospital building. Sensitivities to schedule and cost drove the project to the design-build approach.
In its initial proposal the design team balanced schedule and cost with looks to arrive at an effective but plain garage solution. While the design met the hospital’s and improvement authority’s goals, it was rejected by the planning board approval process. Seen as an anchor for redevelopment, the garage needed further aesthetic treatment in order to support revitalization efforts, enhance the image of the city and better fit with its residential surroundings.
To Be a Good Neighbor
Constructed over an existing surface parking lot, the garage includes up to five ground level spaces to accommodate future restaurants, shops and offices intended to enhance the walkability of the neighborhood and make the building into a destination in its own right. To marry with the parking pavilion pedestrian connection, the elevator tower located on the northeast corner was given spandrels that create the look of glass windows. Spandrels have a white precast center post that further reinforces the appearance of windows.
The design team chose a thin brick finish for the spandrels on the first three supported levels on the three elevations facing surrounding townhomes, using a running bond pattern framed in white precast. The brick was chosen to match the brick that was used on the adjacent hospital. White precast cornices with keystone arch details at the corners and in the center of one elevation provide a visual stopping point at the fifth level. Pigmented spandrels on the fifth through ninth levels are finished in a buff mix framed in white with arch-themed accents and thin brick infill spandrels.
Columns extend the thin brick theme with column covers showing a, 8”-wide white reveal from the ground to the second level. Strategically placed in-grade uplights cast provide a pleasing nighttime image that adds to the safety of the neighborhood. The project includes new sidewalks and decorative pole lights that were selected by the city to complement existing street lighting. A large setback between the main elevation and sidewalk accommodates new tree and other plantings.
A Practical Solution
In addition to the elevator, garage users can take the economical punch-through precast stairs on the northeast and northwest corners to find their way between the user-friendly, well-signed floors. Fifteen foot-wide double tees easily accommodate the stairs, and are used throughout the garage to achieve a smoother driving surface with fewer joints and maintenance requirements than typical 12 foot-wide double tees.
The functional layout consists of a double threaded helix with one-way vehicle travel and 70º front-in parking that’s easy to use and safe. Employee vehicles enter via the primary entrance on the southeast corner of the building, accessing the garage electronically. A secondary entrance on the northeast corner accommodates visitors who park their cars on the first four levels, then use a “pay on foot” system before exiting the garage.
The garage has an open design that allows light and air to move through freely. No supplemental ventilation is required. Metal halide lights illuminate the parking areas to 5 average minimum footcandles; stairs and elevators average 20 minimum footcandles, and the entrance/exits are kept at 40 average minimum footcandles. The parking office is positioned centrally with full view of the entrances; personnel are informed of activities throughout the garage by closed circuit television.