Green slate projects a “healthy” image

June 8, 2004
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HealthSpace Cleveland, which opened to the public on November 8, 2003, is an 81,000-square-foot facility that is intended to provide families and individuals with a forum for discussing timely health issues. The Cleveland, OH, facility serves as a place to learn through play and receive up-to-the-minute information that can truly impact people's health. Materials implemented in the design of the new building were intended to reflect the environment. Because of its muted earth tone and natural qualities, Green slate from Brazil was considered an appropriate choice as the primary building material for the health facility.

More than 31,000 square feet of slate -- quarried and supplied by Green Slate Mining/Micapel of Pompeu, Minas Gerais, Brazil -- was used for exterior cladding, interior walls, pylons, a water feature and benches. The panels employed for the cladding are extremely large, measuring 2 feet, 6 inches x 5 feet with a thickness of 3 cm.

“The architect picked the slate because it was green and 'healthy' looking,” said Paul Shand of SPS & Associates in Hudson, OH, the stone erector for the project. “It went well with the health museum -- there's only two in the country. There is also one in Washington, DC.”

According to Shand, the slate was quarried from an inner region of Brazil. “I went to the quarries with the architect and general contractor,” he said. “They picked out the type of slate that they liked, and then we worked to get the right color range. In Brazil, [the quarries] are like football fields, and so you can get large pieces and a great depth of green.”

SPS collaborated with Green Slate Mining/Micapel and SM Haw to develop a system to fabricate the facade panels in metric. “Slate has difficult properties to work with, so our engineer, SM Haw, designed self-supporting, load-bearing, stainless steel clips to carry each panel,” said Shand. “Slate has a tendency to cleave because it is a sedimentary stone. Together with Green Slate Mining a new technology was developed to protect the edges.”

With stainless steel clips large enough to hold each stone, the panels above and below are not in jeopardy of being affected, explained Shand. “It's designed so that the weight cannot cascade down on [the other panels],” he said. “I put a lot of expertise and a lot of time into it, and we had good stone setters.”

A focal point of HealthSpace Cleveland is a water feature which starts at one end of the building and travels under two bridges and various pools, and eventually cascades down a wall into a café area. The Brazilian Green slate was used to clad this architectural element. The pieces were installed with standard cement, which had a latex additive.

Installation of the slate was completed in approximately 10 months, according to Shand. “We had between 16 and 23 workers on the job,” he said. “We worked in the middle of winter, which made it very difficult and cold. There was a lot of stone.” After erection, the slate was cleaned and impregnated to prevent moisture intrusion and to impede sediments in the material, said Shand.

Since opening, HealthSpace Cleveland has received positive reviews. The facility is equipped with amenities such as a food service area, outdoor dining section, a gift shop, and a theater-style auditorium that offers information and entertainment.

End box:
HealthSpace Cleveland

Cleveland, OH

Owner: The Health Museum of Cleveland

Architect: Bucchieri Architects, Cleveland, OH

Stone Quarrier/Fabricator: Green Slate Mining/Micapel, Pompeu, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Stone Erector: SPS & Associates, Hudson, OH

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