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Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH

In Columbus, Ohio, we collaborated with NBBJ Architectural Firm on Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Big Lots Behavioral Pavilion - one of the largest and most comprehensive pediatric hospitals and research institutes in the US. Per NBBJ, “The interior design incorporates insights from neuroscience research, which has proven that stress and anxiety — a particular concern for this patient population — can be reduced by providing access to light and nature, curved surfaces, and opportunities to form relationships with other people. Two landscaped courtyards and a play area give patients and their families a range of outdoor environments, from active to calm, in which to heal and find respite amidst nature."

On the east and west courtyards of the hospital, beautiful custom benches were installed by J.A. Birdwell Contracting LLC and constructed with Boulevard wood decking lumber, zinc-rich undercoating with powder-coated steel frames, and stainless-steel fasteners. The custom benches were prefabricated in sections and installed onsite with minimal assembly. Our Customworks group and engineers were thoroughly involved as the custom wood benches required extensive customization to align with site requirements. J.A. Birdwell installers and our team collaborated to build the benches for the customer’s desires and success.

In the “build” phase, cast-in-place concrete bases were being constructed (by others) onsite as our team simultaneously designed; construction and installation needed to situate with onsite elements. Once the Customworks team presented our solution, NBBJ’s structural engineers stopped for analysis to ensure our products met their structural requirements - and they did! Another challenge was NBBJ wanted the wood bench fasteners concealed so our team engineered a solution allowing for all the fasteners to be concealed. The customer also wanted to access the underside of the benches, so our engineered solution made the connections easily accessible for the cleaning crew and easily replaceable for the maintenance crew, with minimal tools required. Lastly, the wood benches were also customized with accommodations for lighting, of which the lighting was not included, but added during the project installation

As noted above, the benches were made of Boulevard thermally modified wood which has a 25+ year life span, is moisture stabilized, splinter, warp, and twist-resistant, and will naturally weather to a beautiful, rich patina. Tournesol’s Boulevard wood starts with ash, then the lumber is treated at high temperatures and with steam in a special kiln. The natural process changes the make-up of the wood, creating naturally dark-colored lumber with exceptional rot, pest, and decay resistance. All lumber is harvested and processed entirely in the United States. Boulevard wood is 50% lighter (good for shipping), ecologically responsible, and far easier to modify and work with on-site than South American hardwoods.

The courtyard shines with the design and landscaping beauty that families who visit the hospital are able to enjoy, with peace and calm.

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*Note: As of July 2021, Tournesol is no longer selling Boulevard Wood Decking Lumber, unless it's a custom order.