The uniqueness of a free-standing emergency room is rivaled only by the uniqueness of the design concept of the new Legacy ER in Allen, TX. Described by some as a “metal origami," the facility functions both as a state-licensed emergency facility as well as an urgent care clinic. The emergency room–open 24 hours a day, seven days a week–features on its exterior an architectural robe of zinc panels from RHEINZINK America Inc., Woburn, MA.
The owners of Legacy ER sought to redefine the medical care experience. The building integrates the principles of evidence-based design and sustainability within its spatial, circulatory and sensory structure. This is the second Legacy ER building designed by 5G Studio Collaborative of Dallas. The success of the design of the first building, located in Frisco, TX, and the exceptional branding and business opportunities it enabled, convinced the client to push forward with an edgy, contemporary design for the new Allen facility. The design is intended to advance the discourse on the architecture of the healing environment.
According to Yen Ong, partner at 5G Studio and principal architect, “The architecture explores the spatially expressible relationship between the clinical administration of medicine and the emotional relation between the medical professional, the patient and the healing environment."
The zinc exterior of the structure is enhanced by an integrated lighting system. Perforated RHEINZINK Reveal Panels clad the dramatic overhangs and soffits; RHEINZINK Standing Seam Panels clad the facade. Approximately 17,000 sq. ft. of PrePATINA blue-grey panels were utilized overall.
“The owners wanted to create a distinctive facility," Ong said. “We presented this modern look and proposed RHEINZINK because it’s a sustainable metal, it’s durable and, in spite of its cool hue, it’s still very warm and charming. We really wanted to capture the essence of an ER physicians role in a patient’s life. I think we were successful in doing that, especially with zinc, because the material is very flexible, very durable and very precise. It captures all of the attributes of physicians that patients in this situation want to see."
The large, sloping soffits clad with perforated RHEINZINK panels provide the signature look. “We used the perforations to create a diffusion for the building lighting," Ong said. “The perforations are larger toward the outer edges and smaller toward the inside to achieve the gradient of light. At night, the diffused lighting pattern is quite evident."
Long-time RHEINZINK partner and distributor, MetalTech—USA, Peachtree City, GA, was chosen to fabricate the zinc panels. The perforated panels were integral in executing the architect’s vision. The perforations help provide exterior views from within the building as well as a method of peripheral lighting. Varying perforation patterns were carefully chosen and mapped onto each panel to achieve a gradient reading that adds to the perceptual depth of the building geometry. Five different perforation patterns had to be coordinated with two different panel types and sizes. “The greatest challenge was the set-up and programming that was necessary to get the panels fabricated properly," said MetalTech project manager Michael Love. “But the end result was worth all of our hard work."
Another interesting aspect of the panels is the trimless “zero edge“ detailing that suggests “flight, lightness, precision and speed," according to architect Yen Ong.
Installation of the RHEINZINK panels was done by Ramon Franklin LLC, Fort Worth, TX. “This was one of the most challenging jobs that we’ve faced," said senior project manager Mark Standifer. “I’ve never been on a roof where we didn’t trim it—there’s no fabricated 10’ long trim pieces or eave pieces. The architect really wanted a ‘trimless‘ look. And you have the edge of the panel tying into another panel going into a completely different plane. There’s not a 90 degree corner on the exterior of the building. We’re familiar with RHEINZINK through previous jobs but we had never seen one like this."
Ong concurs that the job was challenging, particularly achieving the zero edge. “It took a lot of precision and structure behind the zinc panels," Ong said. “One of the remarkable attributes of Ramon Franklin is that they really worked with us on the detailing of the panels. There’s no 3"-wide coping or flashing as you would typically see."
The budget was a challenge, too. “We were initially a bit over budget and the zinc was obviously the easy target," Ong said. “But the owners insisted we keep the RHEINZINK. They saw it as having that much value. It has become a branding staple of their facilities."