ESD Tour Of DMC Heart Hospital To Feature Designer’s Details

SOUTHFIELD — When Engineering Society of Detroit members tour the new Detroit Medical Center Cardiovascular Institute March 4, they’ll get an insider’s peek at the building’s engineering and construction.

That’s because representatives of Harley Ellis Devereaux, which designed the 216,000-square-foot building, will be attending the tour as well.

Peyman Ramin, lead electrical engineer on the project for Harley Ellis Devereaux, and Dale Clark, lead mechanical engineer, will be along for the tour, pointing out high-tech features of the building’s design.

The tour is $25 for ESD members. Or, join ESD for $75 (a 25 percent discount) and take the tour for free. (This offer is good for new, first-time members only.)

Register online at this link or call (248) 353-0735, ext. 222 to register by phone. For questions, please contact Matt Roush at

According to Harley Ellis Devereaux, the heart hospital has become the new gateway to the Detroit Medical Center, consolidating services into one cohesive facility and solving engineering challenges throughout the campus.

The siting of the new building required relocation of major utility services and the demolition of an existing 10-story international housing building and an 800-car parking structure. The demolition of these structures created the opportunity to build an 1,800-car parking structure to address badly needed parking on campus as well as the new hospital. The newly configured site revealed a prominent view of the Detroit skyline, once blocked by the larger buildings. Additionally, newly open space provided access to Brush Park, which had been largely inaccessible and contained various building support equipment and outdoor generators.

A variety of engineering challenges existed across the campus, in addition to addressing utility needs for the new heart hospital. The urban site made it challenging to install building support service equipment such as emergency generators, a fire pump and a 40,000-gallon water tank fire suppression backup system that is code-mandated for the hospital. One outdoor generator located in Brush Park and two generators land locked in the basement of Children’s Hospital needed to be addressed with no physical space to place new equipment. The primary electrical services to the campus were at capacity and two new DTE primary services had to be brought to the site to accommodate the new hospital, the existing Children’s Hospital and also the future Children’s Hospital North Tower addition.

Harley Ellis Devereaux was commissioned to solve these campus engineering issues, designing an Energy Center within the new 1,800-car parking structure. This building had to be engineered to meet seismic requirements because it served critical services in multiple hospitals. The Energy Center was designed to house four 1,500-kilowatt generators connected to a paralleling gear and normal double ended power primary equipment with automatic transfer. In addition, the fire protection tank and fire pump was installed in the Energy Center, removing it from Brush Park. Special attention had to be made to generator stacks and the neighboring facilities air intakes and generator exhaust was channeled through an equipment corridor to mitigate sound to the neighboring park.

The entire emergency system in Children’s Hospital was reworked as part of this project. System monitoring and controls were incorporated into the design so the systems are visible from multiple locations on campus, enabling DMC to operate the heart hospital with no additional staff.

Within patient spaces, air handling systems for the CVI have ultraviolet lighting to reduce the possibility of contagions. Air systems for the surgery area have HEPA filtration for ultra clean air. Equipment cooling for the catheterization labs is accomplished by an energy efficient heat pump system with winter free cooling at the cooling tower. Building heating is accomplished by using Detroit Thermal Steam and chilled water is produced by new variable frequency drive chillers.

By consolidating cardiac services from across the campus into a dedicated center of excellence, time from EMS pick up to balloon was reduced by 35 percent. Harley Ellis Devereaux’s medical planners created a unique layout for the procedure areas, prep and recovery spaces, abandoning the traditional racetrack design and creating a linear path for cellular design that focuses on breaking down operations and space into smaller increments that contain prep, procedure and recovery spaces within a specific cell. The ultimate benefit is a reduction in the number of units walked resulting in more efficient use of time. The travel units for patients were reduced by 40 percent, primary nursing staff walking units were reduced by 25 percent, and physician walking units were reduced by 20 percent.

DMC wanted to provide a welcoming and accommodating entry feature that would allow families to feel that they were being taken care of while their loved ones were undergoing a procedure. The solution was a full service concierge desk in the atrium lobby to service guests similar to a hotel, as well as providing a greeter directly adjacent to the parking bridge entrance.

Also, 90 percent of interior finishes in the building were manufactured in the United States, and the building uses natural woods, natural stone and warm earth tones in combination with multiple levels of lighting, all based on evidence about how surroundings affect health and healing.

Staff have the convenience of dual circulation through a restricted corridor and a large, shared clean holding space, minimizing time for retrieval of materials and specialty equipment.

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