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Photo of the Commonground, showing the trellis structure and (upper left) green roof on the cafe. Courtesy Diller Scofidio + Renfro Rhino 3D model of the trellis work, with supporting towers (red) and veirendeel trusses (orange). The metal rods hang in tension from the perimeter frame and will support the growth of vines that will eventually cover the trellis.

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2014

Overview

As part of creating a healing environment beyond the four walls of a typical medical facility, Eskanazi Hospital in Indianapolis developed a sweeping outdoor space called the Commonground.  It encompasses a lawn, two water features, a cafe with a green roof, and a cable-supported trellis structure to be covered with vines.  Working closely with designers, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Land Collective and The Olin Studio, we provided structural design and advanced computational modeling services through construction administration for the trellis canopy. We also provided full construction drawings, a complete 3D digital BIM and fabrication centerline models, and supporting calculations by the end of the detail drawings phase.

A Signature Entrance

The unique canopy defines an open-air green space and features a one-story café and garden community spaces. The canopy is created by a system of perimeter beams forming four sections. In two sections, the perimeter beams are supported by cables connected to a column within each section. The perimeter beams in the two other sections are supported by a system of narrow rods that anchor to the foundation. All elements of the pavilion canopy – rods, perimeter beams and cables – provide a substrate for vines. By weaving together the structural system and plants, the distinction between traditional façade and landscape is blurred, creating a unique experience for visitors, patients and hospital staff.

A Biological Design Challenge

Because very small diameter rods were required to ensure plant attachment and growth, we created a Vierendeel truss and braced-frame system, which provides lateral stability and maintains the design intent of the project.

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