Medical Mart Progress Update

It’s been over a year since we last posted about the Cleveland Medical Mart, but a lot has happened since then.  In the summer of 2011, we had the opportunity to travel to the Construction Research Laboratory in Miami, FL to witness the performance testing of a mockup of a corner of the Medical Mart.  The Construction Research Laboratory is a surreal place, with building carcasses creating a miniature town whose streets are inhabited by large machinery and old turbine engines. In the middle of all this dirt and rust was our pristine mockup of the building corner made of precast and glass.

The performance testing included multiple passes at static and dynamic air and water infiltration, structural racking, and inter-story deflection.  The mockup also served as a first pass at identifying the more difficult moments of the assembly process so that improvements could be made before actual construction.  It was a great experience to be able to watch a window being installed, get inside the mockup and see how all the connections were being made, and finally begin to see a piece of the building at full scale.  The below video highlights a number of the performance tests that were run.

The rust colored panels in the video were not a design change, but instead a result of the water that was being used for the infiltration testing.  The strategy for detailing and placing of the windows were adjusted after the mockup.  In any fabrication process there is always going to be some variation in parts so as a team (fabricators, contractors, architects) we came up with criteria for evaluating what an acceptable precast panel would be based on some of the finish variations we saw in the mockup.

Fast forward 10 months to May of 2012 and this is what was taking place in downtown Cleveland.

At this point, all of the panels and glass are up except for one column which is being used for construction elevator access through the west facade.  The last remaining touch is to install all of the metal bands that occur over the seam between precast panels.  Below are some pictures from last week.

This project represents one of our first major efforts leveraging the use of parametric modeling in a highly collaborative process with fabricators.  We learned a lot of useful lessons, which we covered in the previous posts, and we continue to build on those lessons with our current projects.  We’ll be sure to share those explorations when possible.  Watch for another update as the building nears completion in spring of 2013.


  • david

    To the architects behind this project. Congratulations on moving architectural fabrication forward. The play of light and shadow makes this building come to life everyday. For those of you whom seen how LMN Architects are transforming Cleveland , please take a moment to applaud them. One question. Has the lobby natural light tubes been eliminated from the design? If so what was the reason?

    • scrawford

      Thanks for the kind words David. Unfortunately, the solatubes were removed from the project due to budget issues. There was plenty of light in the atrium when I was there in May so hopefully they won’t be missed, though they would’ve been a great addition to the space.