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Randall Children's Hospital

The Randall Children's Hospital's Terracotta Rainscreen facade reflects beautiful colors and provides thermal efficiency for the Northwest environment.

Vancouver Community Library with Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen

Beauty and Energy Efficiency

The 334,000 SF, nine-story Randall Children's Hospital consolidates pediatric services in a family-centered care environment and creates a new identity for the children’s hospital as well as a new front door to the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center campus. This recently completed facility houses 165 inpatient beds in single rooms for Acute Care, Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatric Intensive Care. It also includes a new pediatric Emergency Department, a short-stay unit, the Children's Cancer and Blood Disorder Unit, pharmacy and rehabilitation gym. A new garden off the first floor lobby adds an open space to the garden culture well-established on the campus. A terrace garden on the third floor is designed to provide a variety of environments including areas for play, conversation and contemplation.

Argeton Terracotta Rainscreen on the Fort Vancouver Community Library

The architecture of the building features a glass, white terracotta, stone and aluminum panel skin. Large glazed areas open the family and public spaces to the adjacent campus and residential neighborhood. From the beginning Kip Storey, principal at the prestigious architectural firm of ZGF, had his own vision of how the façade of the hospital would come alive and become a part of the landscape. Kip had selected terracotta tiles in a rainscreen assembly to provide thermal efficiency and moisture management for the Northwest climate. The terracotta makes a visual connection across the river to the white terracotta of the historic downtown Portland buildings. The glaze and texture of the terracotta panels reflect the varied light in ever changing ways. This effect makes the building almost seem alive and helps to scale the project to the neighborhood and the skyline.

After multiple sampling the final terracotta selection was a 30mm thickness tile with a custom profile, three custom color combinations, and a clear glaze followed by an iridescent glaze. Despite being all the same color, tiles appear to change color as the sunlight moves across the face of the building making the tiles seem to ‘come alive’ - further supporting the design vision.

Energy Efficiency

The design and construction of the hospital adhere to “The Green Guide for Healthcare” including a building envelope that exceeds the Oregon Energy Code minimum energy standards. The hospital had to be built in tight quarters and to a demanding schedule. Construction continued in close proximity to a fully functioning hospital with day to day care and emergencies. The construction schedule, labor and scope management, material handling, and logistics were an everyday concern.


Kip Storey – Principal, ZGF

“When we started working with Telling on the terracotta for the building we had a long list of wants, it had to be optimistic, connect to Portland’s history of white terracotta buildings, demonstrate it was modern and dynamic like the institution it houses, be able to be installed quickly only feet from a functioning trauma hospital, help scale the building with its older smaller neighbors, and meet a budget. We developed a computer simulation sketch of the building that included a time lapse film of the site. The simulation changed as the light changed, it was living, bright and optimistic. With this and simple models of profiles and paintings for color we went to Telling to begin collaboration on the panels. Telling provided us access to the experts that make the glazes and panels; they educated us about their manufacturing process and made sample after sample for us. Ultimately, together, we created a panel that they could manufacture efficiently and has met all of our expectations for the project. ”


Brenda Alexander - Operations Manager, Hoffman Construction Co. General Contractor

“This was our first project with the Argeton terracotta products. Telling Architectural was very instrumental in helping our team find solutions to achieve the architect’s vision of texture and color while maintaining the Owner’s budget and desire for a 100 yr building envelope. The Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel is a landmark project for the North Portland skyline. Hoffman looks forward to working with Telling/Argeton on future projects that will again push the boundaries on innovative design.”


Steven J. Collins – Vice President, Telling Architectural Systems

“More than two hundred samples were made by the lab experts at Argeton to achieve the desired effect of ZGF. This was a demanding process but worth the effort and the results are a spectacular and dynamic combination of colors, glazes and tile profile. We are pleased to have participated in the development of such a customized and sophisticated design process and be able to present it to the Children’s Hospital in Portland.”


Argeton terracotta rainscreen system is the worlds original terracotta rainscreen. Developed in Germany over three decades ago Argeton has been installed on thousands of projects worldwide. The Telling organization is based in New York and headquartered in the UK. Telling has been an Argeton distributor for over twenty years and supplies technical support to the design team and installer base.


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