Colorado mountainscape reflected in healthcare design

October 1, 2004
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With the scenic Colorado landscape as its backdrop, it was only fitting that the new Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette, CO, would be constructed with materials that reflect its natural surroundings. As a result, regional sandstone with a cleft-face finish was chosen to clad the exterior facade of the facility.

The Colorado Buff sandstone, which was quarried near Masonville, CO, and supplied by Colorado Custom Rock of Boulder, CO, was preferred by the architects and owner for its permanence and low maintenance. “We wanted materials that would be thought of as timeless and with some gesture towards being a natural material,” said Project Architect Hugh Brown of Davis Partnership Architects in Denver, CO. “We recommended sandstone from the start. It was the appropriate texture, and it differed from the brick masonry [that was also used]. It also has a feeling of being local.”

According to the architect, while the owner agreed that sandstone was the correct choice for the building material, it was decided to alter the color that was originally proposed. “Actually, they changed the color from rose to buff,” said Brown. “They liked the stone for the same reasons though -- permanence and naturalness. [The decision also] had to do with availability.” In addition to the exterior cladding, the sandstone was also used for a portion of the interior walls at the entrance.

In total, it took about four months with a crew of eight to complete the installation of the stonework. “We did it while we were doing the brick and other things,” said Dan Gary of Glover United Masonry Inc., the installer for the project. “It was pretty well detailed. There was a lot of coordination with the architect up front to clarify details. That's why it flowed pretty well during the installation process.”

Since there was some variation in the coloring of the sandstone, Glover Masonry brought mock-up panels to the jobsite for the architects to review. Overall, Brown said the design team approved of the variety.

The installer commented that because the architects favored the variation of the sandstone, his crew didn't have to spend much time sorting the stone during the installation process. “He liked the randomness,” said Gary. “He told us not to think too much about it.”

In total, about 16,000 square feet of cut-to-size panels were supplied for the job. Approximately 75% of the pieces measured 16 x 16 inches, while the other 25% were smaller in size. “It was installed as a veneer,” said Gary, adding that masonry anchors were used to secure the sandstone tiles to a full cavity with a moisture barrier.

Construction on the Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center began in July of 2002, and the facility is anticipated to open to patients on December 1, 2004. To start, the new medical center will include 174 licensed beds, with the potential to expand to 350 beds as the community grows. In addition to featuring spacious patient rooms and leading-edge equipment, the center will offer mountain and garden views and walking trails. It will also incorporate a central garden, soothing water features and colorful flowers -- all designed to reflect its focus on healing.

End box

Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center
Lafayette, CO
Architect: Davis Partnership Architects, Denver, CO
Stone Supplier: Colorado Custom Rock, Boulder, CO
Stone Installer: Glover United Masonry Inc., Arvada, CO

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