Yale New Haven Hospital Emergency Department Expansion Adds a Sense of Security
In these modern times there is a constant struggle in the healthcare field between providing the patients, families, and staff with a safe, private, and confidential environment and one that is welcoming, comforting, and supportive. This is what Yale New Haven Hospital’s Emergency Department faced when trying to upgrade the current facility. Yale New Haven Hospital (abbreviated YNHH) is a 1,541-bed hospital located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is owned and operated by the Yale New Haven Health system. YNHH includes the 168-bed Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven, the 201-bed Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, and the 76-bed Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, making it one of the largest hospitals in the world and the largest in Connecticut.
When YNHH hired Salvatore Associates to be the Architect of Record for improving the Emergency Department entrance there were multiple issues to be considered. As with most renovations, the hurdles included combining new and existing structures with a new configuration. Reinforcing the organization’s brand and identity to the community was also one of the guiding principles for the design. This final plan took a dark and foreboding entrance to the existing Emergency Department and added natural light, natural materials, a feeling of openness, and visual access to nature with their surroundings for patients, visitors, and staff. With a strong track record in successful structural glass applications at healthcare facilities, W&W Glass was hired by Massey’s Plate Glass & Aluminum, Inc. to take on the main entrance and canopy.
The glass canopy structure stands tall like a sentry, creating a sense of comfort and security. As night falls, the new Adult Emergency Environment of Care becomes a beacon of light that assures the community that, should the need arise, they will see exactly where there can find help and be provided with the highest quality of care. The Pilkington Planar™ structural glass canopy design required clear SentryGlas® interlayer silk-screened laminated glass with a 20 percent white dot frit pattern on the #2 surface for structural integrity, exposed edge stability, and shading. The glass panels were connected to steel “gusset” tabs with Pilkington Planar™ 905 series countersunk fittings, one of the most commonly used fittings for these systems. The new ambulance entry allows direct access from Howard Avenue to the new ambulance discharge areas. This area is located under cover with appropriate lighting and localized heating for the most effective, efficient transfer of patients to the facility.
W&W Glass’ design for the glass exterior curtain wall enables visualization for both the emergency medical technicians/paramedics who are stabilizing and transporting the patients and the medical staff waiting to receive them. The overall site access is designed to create a separation between the ambulatory drop-off area, where valets will park vehicles for patient arrivals, and the ambulance transfer area, where immediate access to the facility is required. The team decided on using clear silk-screened insulating glass units with a custom grey line frit pattern silk-screened on the #2 surface for the main entrance vision areas that included argon gas fill and HP 70/39 Low-e on the #3 surface for better solar control and occupant comfort. The spandrel glass areas used a full surface white frit for opacity to obscure structure and provide privacy. The face glass was supported by clear 3/4″ monolithic tempered glass fins, many utilizing a white frit on the #2 surface.
Safety can be an issue in urban healthcare settings, but corresponding design solutions should never compromise the healing environment. Security is strategically located adjacent to the triage desks to allow for direct access to the entrance and family support areas without overwhelming the admittance experience. The transparent glass curtain wall system and the adjacent glass vestibule allow visual assessment of any potential threat prior to entering the building, while also calming visitors with views of the outdoors and lots of daylight. Emergency Services at Yale New Haven Hospital and at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital are comprehensive, multidisciplinary centers, staffed to treat the needs adults and children with acute and urgent illnesses and injuries. On the York Street Campus, Yale New Haven is a designated Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma facility — the first and only hospital in Connecticut with this status.
This creation of a total Environment of Care reinforces the organization’s brand and identity to the community; it also transformed the existing condition into spaces that welcome, support, and nurture patients. Additionally, art-enhanced wayfinding solutions and strategically placed regional artwork were incorporated into this project to help create memorable moments, provide direction, and add some calming diversion from the perils that may lie ahead for some patients. This masterful renovation presented an opportunity for the hospital to help begin the healing process right at the front door.
W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar™ structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.