healtcare_dentonNamed in honor of the founder of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston, Texas, the Denton A. Cooley Building provides laboratory space for state-of-the-art research in gene therapy and heart transplants. This new 10-story, 312,000-square-foot facility houses a telemedicine center, 325-seat conference center, learning resource center, outpatient clinic, ten surgical suites, recovery rooms, and intensive care areas.

A cast-in-place concrete system was selected for this building to meet several of the project criteria. A shallow floor depth was mandatory at the lower levels to allow matching of floor elevations with the adjacent existing flat slab hospital building. The flat slab system selected for the project was clearly the most efficient given this restriction on structural depth. Also, it allowed the team to maximize the plenum space while minimizing the cost of the curtain wall. The inherent flexibility of concrete systems and the ability to form complex geometries were also key factors in the selection.

A conventionally reinforced 11-inch thick, flat slab was used on the first floor and for heavier mechanical space and laboratories loads are present on the third floor. The other floors used 9-inch thick slabs. The second floor contains the project’s 10 operating rooms, with future expansion capability for two. This level also includes two 6-foot 9-inch deep by 6-foot wide post-tensioned transfer girders that support the eight levels above the column-free first floor opening at the grand staircase to the third floor. The girders were made of 6,500-psi concrete, while all floor slabs were made of 5,000-psi concrete.

On the fifth floor, an 11-inch slab was used in the construction of the Ansary Atrium, a four-story open space for the enjoyment of patient families and staff. A heliport on the roof of the building provides convenient helicopter access for emergency care situations. A network of concrete shear walls with a concentration at the core was employed to resist lateral wind loads. The walls range from 12- to 22-inches in thickness with concrete strength ranging from 4,000 psi to 6,000 psi..

The overall economy, speed, and ease of construction, inherent fire resistance, and excellent vibration characteristics
are among the other aspects of concrete systems that made concrete the material of choice for this project. In 2002, the facility was awarded the AON Build America Award as one of the best new building projects in the country. 




St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital


Morris Architects, Houston, Texas, and FDS International, Irving, Texas

Structural Engineer:
Walter P. Moore, Houston, Texas

General Contractor:

Linbeck, Houston, Texas

Concrete Supplier:
Houston Shell, Texas City, Texas

Post Tension Supplier:
DYWIDAG-Systems International USA, Inc., Bolingbrook, Illinois