Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Charlestown, MA, USA

Partners Healthcare’s new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston is a light-filled, state of the art facility which the Boston Globe applauded as “emblematic of the transformation rehabilitation medicine has undergone.”

Behind the scenes, the nine story, 262,000ft2 building designed by Perkins+Will, also reflects recent advances in computational modeling that are transforming the design process. The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital provides exceptional resources to the local community, focusing on the needs of patients and their families to offer a facility that actively promotes the recovery of people with disabilities.


The challenge on this project was to provide advanced life-cycle cost and building performance analyses. These objectives were critical to meeting key client goals for optimizing patient comfort and safety, as well as integrating resiliency planning strategies and ongoing sustainability.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
As leaders in the field of rehabilitative care, Partners Healthcare wanted to put patient comfort at the very heart of the design for the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Image: Anton Grassl | Esto


The modeling carried out by our team revealed that the enhanced performance of the triple glazed facade would provide the desired thermal comfort while eliminating the need for fin tube radiators in the rooms. Fin tube radiators had been identified as a potential risk in relation to infection control. Although the triple glazed option was cost neutral, our approach offered the additional benefit of reducing infection risks, a key concern for all hospitals.

The environmental performance modeling also encompassed resiliency planning, to ensure that the hospital could continue to operate in the event of a disaster. Dynamic thermal modeling helped the design team analyze natural ventilation strategies which were crucial to both day to day building performance and indoor air quality as well as post disaster operations.

Spaulding Hospital
A key element of the hospital design is the striking glass facade which allows light to permeate the building. Image: Anton Grassl | Esto


The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital exemplifies how investment in early analysis can help capture a project’s full potential. Using computational fluid dynamic modeling, we analyzed the triple and double glazed glass curtain wall to ascertain life cycle costs, effects on energy use and impact on thermal comfort for patients. Another key element of the hospital design is the striking glass facade that provides views of the waterfront and Boston skyline, aiding the well-being of patients.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
This state of the art hospital is not only an exemplar of patient centered design, it also sets new standards in resiliency and energy efficiency. Image: Anton Grassl | Esto
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