Case Study

Children’s Specialty Care Center Relies on Nichiha for Enduring Beauty

Trustworthy Looks, Proven Performance 

Located just 15 miles southwest of the Gateway Arch National Park, St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center serves the children and families of the southern portions of St. Louis County, MO. The center is home to laboratory and imaging services, a pharmacy, and a multitude of specialists and clinical services. It also includes the venerable Washington University Physicians outpatient clinics, offering everything from cardiology to neurosurgery 

From the early planning stages, designers realized the center would be a high-traffic environment. As such, the building would need to endure the large volume of patients and deliver lasting beauty.  

When it came to exterior cladding, high-quality architectural wall panels (AWP) from Nichiha became the preferred solution. 

High Performance Needs 

Before the project broke ground in 2019, planners paid particular attention to the building’s façade, ensuring it would perform on several fronts. Considerations included St. Louis’ intense freeze-thaw cycles (exacerbated by the nearby Mississippi River) and the notoriously severe weather of the Midwest.   

In the face of such considerations, the façade’s appearance would need to instill confidence and reassurance for vulnerable visitors and their families, particularly those traveling greater distances for services. The design would also have to inspire the health care professionals who call the workplace home. The exterior would need to be low maintenance and long lasting. And it would also need to correspond closely with the visual brand of BJC HealthCare, the parent network of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. 

Value and Aesthetic Considerations 

With such a tall list of requirements, BJC HealthCare tapped St. Louis’ Archimages Inc. to design the center. Having used Nichiha AWP for several prior construction projects, BJC was particularly keen on using Nichiha’s fiber cement cladding once more on this highly visual, ground-up build.  

“The value propositions for Nichiha are all here from a cost standpoint,” said Shawn Hulsey, territory manager for Nichiha. “It allows you to create unique identities that stand out on the street. It’s a big value add.” 

Sandwiched between the Blues Highway and Interstate 55, the St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center sits in a high-visibility location. To achieve an attention-grabbing design, Nichiha products were specified in bright contrasting colors. The facility’s main portions wear a mixture of TuffBlock in a custom white color and luxurious, high-gloss Miraia in Glacier. Accented portions of the building were specified with the ever-popular Illumination in a specific shade of blue that’s characteristic of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital brand, Pantone® 287 C. 

A pair of these cladding products are among Nichiha’s Color Xpressions system, which offers custom colors to architects and designers without quantity minimums or additional cost.  

Unparalleled ROI 

The result is a striking design that will last for years despite being such a high-traffic environment. The fiber cement cladding has long lasting aesthetic value, and because it is engineered with an integrated rainscreen, it will not flinch in the face of snow, wind, rain, and hail. The medium is also resistant to rot, fire, pests, and extreme temperatures, even coming with a 30-year warranty. 

Assembly was swift thanks to Nichiha’s Ultimate Clip System, which ensures a level installation and helps direct water out and away from the base of the wall. These are among the reasons why BJC HealthCare continues to specify Nichiha for its projects.  

“They turn to Nichiha and use different textures and colors to brand their business,” added Hulsey. “It says something about the breadth of our product line, the ability to change things up, and stay uniform from a construction cost standpoint.” 

The St. Louis Children’s Specialty Care Center’s South County location opened to the public in October 2021. 

The Challenge

Curate a welcoming, appealing design that fosters trust and confidence for children and families seeking nationally ranked health care in an outpatient setting.

The Solution

Utilize a trio of Nichiha cladding products that beautify the exterior and provide ample, long-lasting protection from the elements.

The Results

The St. Louis Children’s Hospital Specialty Care Center delivers a unique exterior that’s both striking and reassuring for health care professionals and the patients and families they serve.

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