Groundbreaking Held for $1.5B Pittsburgh Hospital

MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2022

Last week, officials broke ground for the new UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, which is expected to become the largest hospital in the city’s history. The new $1.5 billion facility will reportedly stand 17 stories high and have 636 private patient rooms, also making it the largest health care construction project in Pennsylvania.

UPMC officials said that the hospital will provide transplant, cardiology and neurology services, surgery, care and treatment. The design plan also features new technology advances for patients, visitors and staff alike.

About the Project

First announced in 2017, the new Presbyterian Hospital is one of three health care projects planned for UPMC. Others include the construction of a six-story UMPC Mercy Pavilion in Uptown and an eight-story patient tower and outpatient center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Hospital in Shadyside. Construction of Mercy Pavilion is underway and is expected to finish next year.

The 17-story tower will cover about 900,000 square feet in the Oakland neighborhood, feature a 450-space parking garage and offer private rooms with natural light through the glass exterior façade. Nearly one fourth of the rooms in the tower will be designated for the intensive care unit or acuity-adaptable rooms.

“It’ll be one of the most transformative construction projects in the history of UPMC — a hospital of the future, designed for the patient,” UPMC Health Services Division President Mark Sevco said.

Following an international competition for design and architects, UPMC selected design firm HGA to complete the buildings. The HGA team also partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Building Performance and Diagnostics to model light conditions and design methods to manage light and heat entering the building, promote natural daylights and lessen bird strikes. 

The “patient-centered” design goal of the tower is to be a “comforting and welcoming place that inspires healing, caring, and forming community connections.” The patient will reportedly receive all necessary services throughout their stay on the same floor treating those with similar conditions or a disease-specific unit, improving outcomes through maintaining the continuity of care and ultimately reducing health care costs.

Digital walls are planned to offer virtual physician consultation and access to vital patient information, while still maintaining connections with family members at home. Plans also have eliminated confusing hallways that can pose navigational challenges to patients and visitors.

“This hospital gives us the opportunity to have more contemporary spaces and to be part of the continuum, to have healing spaces, to have technology wired in and really available,” said UPMC President and CEO Leslie Davis.

“This does not include more beds, so this is the same amount of beds that we've had in the past, but it's a more contemporary way of taking care of patients. And we know we can invent new science, new technology, invent that in the laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh and then we spread that across all our 42 hospitals.”

According to UPMC, the building also meets or exceeds required green building standards. Building materials used for the façade will use energy-efficient, patterned glass to reflect and blending into the design of the existing UPMC Presby campus. Additional features include:

  • A three-level base of limestone and glass, providing visible, material links to Oakland's rich historic masonry buildings;
  • Lush, accessible landscape that will add park-like settings to Oakland's distinct landmark buildings; and
  • Large-scale use of glass that will offset the weight of its 17 stories. It also will offer a clear view of what's happening inside its first few floors, making it feel part of the community.

In addition to health care amenities, the building will include a rooftop garden and flexible outdoor spaces to host farmer’s markets or concerts, as well as a fitness center for staff and visitors. 191,000 square feet will also reportedly be designated for parking, retail and other uses.

For construction, UPMC anticipates using 23,000 yards of concrete, 9,200 tons of steel and 290,000 square feet of glass. The groundbreaking ceremony, held on June 14, was led by Davis, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and other officials.

The project, which in total takes up 1.2 million square feet of space, is expected to create about 3,4000 construction jobs over the duration of building. The project is anticipated to be completed by 2026.

"The jobs that are going to be created, the building trades, the architects, the engineers, to build this and the jobs that'll be created here," Fitzgerald said at the ceremony. 


Tagged categories: Architecture; Building facades; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commerial/Architectural; Construction; Design; Design - Commercial; Design build; Health Care/Hospitals; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Projects - Commercial

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