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Mission Hospital Patient Care Tower

3A Composites USA

The new $153-million 94,000-square-foot Patient Care Tower at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, Calif., opened in November 2009 featuring state-of-the-art technology in advanced imaging and diagnostic services as well as patient- and family-centered care. Construction of the four-level tower also was aided by state-of-the-art technology in the form of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to create three-dimensional mock-ups of above-ceiling utilities and in-wall coordination for high-congestion areas on the building’s unique exterior to help resolve system clashes before construction began.

Built next to the existing Mission Hospital five-story tower and pavilion, the new four-level Patient Care Tower includes: 44 private rooms, advanced diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, the Zimmer Neuroscience Wing specializing in critical care, the Progressive Care & Stroke Unit, the Swenson Family Linear Accelerator Suite and the Schumacher Healing Garden.

The expansion also includes a new 45-seat chapel open 24 hours seven days a week to patients and visitors of all faiths. The chapel and healing garden are located between the existing tower and the new tower to invite easy access to the entire community and emphasize the spiritual and holistic healing mission of the hospital, which is a member of the St. Joseph Health System.

The tower’s opening makes Mission Hospital the largest hospital in South Orange County, Calif., with 552 beds.

RBB Architects, Inc., of Los Angeles, created the tower’s AIA Design Award-winning architecture to promote healing for patients and to provide a comfortable atmosphere for families and an enhanced state-of-the art working environment for hospital staff.  The half-cylindrical chapel, which features a glass roof structure supported from the top by radial trusses, serves as a predominant design element.

General contractor McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., of Newport Beach, Calif., created a seismically sound tower exterior, which is clad with Alucobond® aluminum composite material (ACM) by Alcan Composites USA and includes an external steel-braced frame conveying a sense of the highly technological, state-of-the-art patient services provided within the building. A total of 75,000 square feet of 4mm Alucobond ACM was utilized to clad the tower and chapel, including 8,000 square feet in the custom Rose Metallic color, 23,000 square feet in Bone White and 44,000 square feet in Silver Metallic.

“We chose Alucobond for cladding because of its flexibility, durability and high quality,” said Sylvia Botero, AIA, LEED AP, senior vice president, RBB Architects. “Alucobond imposes very few design limitations; and, this project featured any number of cylindrical and radial shapes.  Alucobond allowed for these sculpted forms. It gave us freedom of design. And, because the hospital is located within four miles of the Pacific Ocean, we needed a corrosion-resistant panel. We’ve used Alucobond panels on other projects and know they perform well.”

Alucobond ACM consists of two sheets of 0.020” aluminum thermobonded to a plastic core. Alucobond provides extraordinary flatness and rigidity, excellent formability, low weight and outstanding weather resistance. Alucobond aluminum-faced panels are manufactured with a polyethylene core in a standard 4mm thickness.

Joseph A. Balbona, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP, chief executive officer of RBB Architects, served as principal in charge of design and construction; and, Philo Jacobson, AIA, served as project designer for the Mission Hospital project. Design of the Patient Care Tower began in November 2001, according to Botero; and, following state approvals, was completed for start of construction in April 2007.

Keith Panel Systems (KPS) Co., Ltd., of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, fabricated 3,100 Alucobond panels for the tower and chapel with the aid of three-dimensional modeling software.  Installation of the KPS System A-Plus Dry Joint Pressure Equalized Rainscreen panel system was completed by Tower Glass, Inc., of San Diego.

“There were several elements on this project with complicated geometry,” said Paul Dalzell, U.S. operations manager, KPS. “One of Alucobond’s strengths is that it can be bent to accommodate just about any radius or acute angle. Alucobond was the perfect choice for an application like this. We were able to achieve everything the architects were looking for, and they seemed very happy with the results.”

KPS began work on-site in October 2008 but started three-dimensional drawings two years prior as part of the BIM technology utilized on this project.

“We had to coordinate everything with the structural steel, glazing and stud contractors and used advanced three-dimensional collision-detection software to flag potential problems between trades months before anything had been erected,” said Dalzell. “This process allowed us to fabricate panels with dimensions pulled from the 3-D model, eliminating the need for field measurements and greatly accelerating the schedule. It was a good example of the real-world results BIM technology can yield.”

ConstrucTech magazine honored St. Joseph Health System with a Gold award, recognizing the high level use of BIM technology in the design and construction of the Mission Hospital Patient Care Tower with its complex exterior and structural bracing system.  The extensive three-dimensional modeling was developed prior to construction to visualize and resolve any system clashes. The resulting design and construction coordination achieved accelerated schedule goals, with minimal change order costs, according to RBB Architects.

The Mission Hospital Patient Care Tower earned additional honors for RBB Architects and McCarthy Building Companies from the Associated General Contractors of America, which awarded its 2010 Marvin M. Black Award for excellence in partnership on the this project.

About Mission Hospital

Mission Hospital provides south Orange County communities with access to advanced care and advanced caring through two convenient locations. Mission Hospital has been serving the greater needs of the community for nearly 40 years, improving the quality of life in the communities we serve.  Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, the region's only designated trauma center, offers 24-hour emergency care and specialized services for imaging, heart, stroke, maternity, and women's wellness needs.  Its second campus, Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, offers 24-hour emergency, intensive and medical-surgical care as well as the South County's only behavioral health services including hospital-based chemical dependency and chronic pain medicine abuse center. A member of the St. Joseph Health System, Mission Hospital is one of 14 not-for-profit hospitals sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry. For more information, visit

Photos by Barrie Rokeach, Aerial/Terrestrial Photography, Berkeley, Calif.

About 3A Composites USA

Alucobond logo3A Composites USA offers aluminum composite material. For more information, visit

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