Institutional Architecture: Historic campus is linked with stone

April 3, 2006
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The Fletcher Allen Health Care Center in Burlington, VT, includes new construction and renovations of buildings that date back to the 1800s, and all include a variety of stonework. The idea behind the latest endeavor on campus - dubbed the Renaissance Project - was to build a new Ambulatory Care Center and joint Education and Conference Center with the University of Vermont to bring together patient care, education and research.
Photo courtesy of Tsoi / Kobus & Associates


The Fletcher Allen Health Care Center in Burlington, VT, encompasses a total of 950,000 square feet, and includes new construction as well as older, renovated buildings that date back to the 1800s. The idea behind the venture - dubbed the Renaissance Project - was to build a new Ambulatory Care Center and joint Education and Conference Center with the University of Vermont to bring together patient care, education and research. The long panoramic views of the Green Mountains, Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains provided an opportunity to establish a strong visual relationship with the natural environment, and natural stone serves as a common thread for both new construction and renovations efforts.

Tsoi / Kobus & Associates (TK&A) of Cambridge, MA, served as the lead architect for the Ambulatory Care Center, Medical Education Center and underground garage, in collaboration with local architect Freeman French Freeman, Inc. (FFF) of Burlington, VT, which was responsible for the renovation/restoration of the historic Mary Fletcher Hospital and a new Central Facilities Plant.



Adair limestone from Arriscraft International was used for much of the new construction. “With its southern exposure, the split-face finish creates an ever-changing texture through the course of the day, emphasizing the natural beauty of the stone,” said Project Architect Greg Luongo of Tsoi / Kobus & Associates (TK&A) of Cambridge, MA.
Photo courtesy of Tsoi / Kobus & Associates

Ambulatory Care Center

TK&A designed the state-of-the-art Ambulatory Care Center and Medical Education Center using Canadian Adair limestone in a blue/grey color range for the exterior facades. Arriscraft International of Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, supplied the material.

“The choice of materials and details were meant to emphasize both a sense of craft and the natural environment,” said Project Architect Greg Luongo, AIA, of TK&A. “Selecting the right stone was key to achieving this goal.”'



According to Luongo, Adair limestone was selected for its “durability, compatibility with the existing context, the proximity of the quarry and fabrication plant and cost.”
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

According to Luongo, several different types of limestone and granite were considered - both domestic and foreign. “Small mock-ups of the options were constructed on site to assist the owner and the design team in making the final selection,” he said. “Adair limestone was ultimately selected for its durability, compatibility with the existing context, the proximity of the quarry and fabrication plant and cost. Once the stone was selected, additional larger-scale mock-ups were constructed at the fabrication plant and on site to confirm coursing and finish.”

Various-sized pieces of limestone were used, including 8 x 48, 14 x 48 and 24 x 24 inches. “A modified coursed ashlar was selected to emphasize a sense of craft and a more intimate scale,” said the architect, adding that a fleuri cut was chosen for its interesting variety of figuring.
Photo courtesy of Tsoi / Kobus & Associates

Various-sized pieces of limestone were used, including 8 x 48, 14 x 48 and 24 x 24 inches. “A modified coursed ashlar was selected to emphasize a sense of craft and a more intimate scale,” said Luongo, adding that a fleuri cut variety of the stone was chosen for its interesting variety of figuring.

Both medium-dressed and split-faced finishes were used. “The split-face finish is used exclusively on the curved entry facade of the ambulatory care center,” said the project architect. “With its southern exposure, the split-face finish creates an ever-changing texture through the course of the day, emphasizing the natural beauty of the stone.”



Adair limestone was also used for interior wall cladding in the main pavilion of the Ambulatory Care Center.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

According to Luongo, cost is often an issue when working on healthcare projects, and that was the case with this particular job as well. “We worked closely with the masonry subcontractor to find the most cost-effective way of achieving the design intent,” he said. “The subcontractor suggested going from 4- to 3-inch-thick slabs, which reduced the overall weight significantly. And interestingly, the split-faced finish was very cost effective, requiring only minimal manual dressing after the slab was guillotined to address any projections which did not meet specified dimensional tolerances.”

“The choice of materials and details were meant to emphasize both a sense of craft and the natural environment,” said Luongo. “Selecting the right stone was key to achieving this goal.”
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

Richard Moon, AIA, project manager with TK&A, said that the stonework has been well received by the client and community. According to Moon, “there has been an overwhelmingly favorable response to the stone finish. The stone works well in the context of the surrounding UVM [University of Vermont College of Medicine] and Fletcher Allen campus, and also has its own unique character that presents the building well.

The exterior of the Medical Education Pavilion features random-sized pieces of Adair limestone as well.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

“The choice of stone and the selection of finishes has highlighted the project with a texture that only a stone masonry material can provide,” he continued. “The use of stone on the building exterior has integrated the building with the rural character of Vermont and emphasized the connection with the healing environment of nature and natural materials.”

“There has been an overwhelmingly favorable response to the stone finish,” said Richard Moon, AIA, project manager with TK&A. “The stone works well in the context of the surrounding UVM [University of Vermont College of Medicine] and Fletcher Allen campus, and also has its own unique character that presents the building well.”
Photo courtesy of Tsoi / Kobus & Associates

Mary Fletcher Hospital and Central Facilities Plant

FFF was in charge of two major portions of the project, which included the historical restoration of the 24,000-square-foot Mary Fletcher Hospital, which now houses the offices of the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, and the new 48,000-square-foot main Central Facilities Plant.

According to Jesse Beck of FFF, the main goal of the project was to weave the historical aspects together with the contemporary addition.

The base course of the Mary Fletcher Hospital is comprised of Antique Dark red sandstone from Rolling Rock Building Stone of Boyertown, PA, to match the existing dark red local building stone.



Small mock-ups of the stone options were constructed on site to assist the owner and the design team in making the final selection. (The selected Adair limestone is second from the right.)
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

For the restoration of the stonework at the Mary Fletcher Hospital, Trowel Trades Supply Inc. supplied Champlain Marble from Isle La Motte, VT. The material was used on port cocheres, sills, water tables, copings and pedestals, to match the existing exterior trim accent.

In addition, the company supplied Woodbury granite for steps and stone pavers.

“It was a complex job that required a lot of fancy shapes and special elements,” said Gene Pawlikowski with Trowel Trades. “It is a beautiful restoration with intricate multi-faceted details.”



Freeman French Freeman, Inc. of Burlington, VT, was responsible for the historic restoration of the Mary Fletcher Hospital, which now houses offices of the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine. The main goal of the project was to weave the historical aspects together with the contemporary addition, according to architect Jesse Beck.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

According to Pawlikowski, the company supplied approximately 100 tons of Rainbow Blend sandstone for the stone veneer cladding on the facilities plant, and the material was chosen to match the existing tan and pink wainscoting on the building. “The original stone used is no longer commercially available, as all the quarries have since closed,” explained Pawlikowski, adding that they had to seek an alternative source in order to match the local red stone. The Rainbow Blend material came from Quebec, and was used in a blend of ashlar and square rectangular pieces to match the large pieces that were already in existence from the original construction in the 1800s.

The base of the Mary Fletcher Hospital is comprised of Antique Dark sandstone from Rolling Rock Building Stone of Boyertown, PA, while Champlain Marble from Trowel Trades Supply Inc. was used on port cocheres, sills, water tables, copings and pedestals to match the existing stone accent trim. The company also supplied Woodbury granite for steps and stone pavers.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

Beck said these materials are all already used on other historical buildings on campus, so they wanted to keep within the design scheme. “We wanted to soften the loop road materials from the more monolithic Adair limestone into texture and shapes that were more historical to the building's structure,” he added.

Macomber/Barton Malow of Burlington, VT, served as the general contractor for the central plant portion of the project, and according to Keith Spencer, the stone for this section of the project took five workers about 20 days to install, and the project was pretty straightforward with no major complications involved.

Beck agreed that there were no significant challenges associated with this portion of the project. “Everything on my end went very well,” he said. “The stone was supplied as we had specified it, and shop drawings came through in pretty good shape. Overall, the craftsmanship turned out very nicely.”



Trowel Trades Supply Inc. of Colchester, VT, supplied approximately 100 tons of Rainbow Blend sandstone for the stone veneer cladding on the north side of the central facilities plant. The material was chosen to match the existing wainscoting on the building.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

Beck said that there was a huge debate over whether to use stone or brick for the project. “The city of Burlington wanted Fletcher Allen to use brick, but the architect and Fletcher Allen themselves wanted to use limestone,” he explained. “I feel very good that it turned out to be Adair limestone.”

Overall construction on the Renaissance Project began in June 2001, and it was completed in October 2005. “The entire city of Burlington thinks it's fantastic,” said Beck. “All of Chittenden County uses the hospital, and it's the largest county in Vermont. People are extremely surprised at how magnificently the project turned out.”



The Rainbow Blend material came from Quebec, and was used in a blend of ashlar and square rectangular pieces to match the large pieces that were already in existence.
Photo courtesy of Fletcher Allen Health Care

Fletcher Allen Health Care
Renaissance Project
Burlington, VT

Lead Architect: Tsoi / Kobus & Associates, Cambridge, MA

Local Architect: Freeman French Freeman, Inc., Burlington, VT

General Contractors: Stewart Construction, Essex Junction, VT (Mary Fletcher Hospital); Macomber Barton Malow, Detroit, MI (Ambulatory Care Center, Medical Education Center, Central Facilities Plant)

Stone Installers: D'Agostino Associates, Inc., Newton, MA (Adair limestone); Liszt Historical Restoration, Inc., Hinesburg, VT (Rainbow Blend sandstone, Champlain Marble, Woodbury Granite)

Stone Suppliers: Arriscraft International, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada (Adair limestone); Rolling Rock Building Stone, Boyertown, PA (Antique Dark sandstone); Trowel Trade Supply Inc., Colchester, VT (Rainbow Blend sandstone, Champlain marble, Woodbury granite)

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