Designed by the Boston office of Anshen + Allen, the new five-story South Pavilion at the Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., has received LEED Gold certification. Designed to allow the hospital to meet growing demands for its specialty services, the facility serves the women of northeastern Connecticut, southeastern Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

Originally, the cramped open bay neonatal intensive care unit held only 60 beds. At 140,000 square feet, the new pavilion includes an 80-bed NICU throughout two floors, comprising 70 beds in private rooms and 10 beds in multi-bed rooms for families of multiples. An additional floor houses 30 ante-partum beds. A transparent 2-story link connects the South Pavilion to the existing hospital. The rooftop penthouse serves as a visual landmark for visitors approaching by car.

Although the majority of NICUs across the country opt for an open bay model of care, the design team chose to incorporate single-family rooms, an emerging trend in NICUs because even minimal visual, auditory, and tactile stimulation can negatively impact infants’ breathing and heart rate. Ongoing research efforts will compare the health of infants treated in the former NICU with those treated in single-family units. The privacy these rooms provide also is consistent with U.S. HIPAA regulations.

The South Pavilion incorporates many sustainable strategies. The building’s orientation and massing are designed to maximize natural daylight. Common areas are located at the joint where the new wing bends to open up views to the exterior and further allow daylight penetration. Water-efficient landscaping and low-flow plumbing reduces water waste while a stormwater system filters rain water in an underground tank before returning it to the soil. Low-energy lighting and appliances, insulation, high-efficiency glazing, and a reflective roof further reduce energy consumption. High-efficiency mechanical systems provide 30 percent more fresh air than building code requires.

Finishes and carpeting are low in VOCs. In addition, the new wing incorporates products and materials with recycled content, many of which were regionally sourced and manufactured. Employees driving low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles have access to a special parking lot. Bicycle parking also is available.