Cleveland, OH,
12:12 PM

Coming soon: a mock-up of the new MetroHealth hospital’s exterior

If you’re going to hang wallpaper at home, the experts recommend that you start the job somewhere out of sight, like in the closet or behind a door.

The reason? You need to see how the wallpaper performs – how it fits together, how it adheres to the walls and, of course, how it looks. You also want to make sure you are doing things perfectly before you move on to the walls that really count, like in the grand foyer.

We’re going to do something similar with our new hospital – no, not with wallpaper but with the actual terracotta and glass exterior of the new building. And because the entire hospital is a grand foyer, on display to the whole community, we don’t have an inconspicuous spot to practice on.

So we’re going to build one.

It’s called a visual mock-up, and it’s essentially a wall, about 23 feet wide and 20 feet tall, for us to see how the exterior components of the hospital fit together. Mock-ups are common for larger projects like ours.

Our mock-up will be constructed this summer on the green at Main Campus. We’re putting it there because we want everyone to see how the exterior materials for the new hospital are going to look. But the reasons for building a mock-up go way beyond the cosmetic.

The exterior of our new hospital is going to be a “unitized curtain wall,” which is a fancy way of describing the modern way we’re going to be constructing the skin of the building.

Our new hospital is going to feature an all-glass exterior on the south side of the structure and a mixture of glass and sculpted white terracotta on the north side. But our team will not be affixing individual tiles or panes of glass to the building.

Instead, the exterior of the building will arrive in pre-fabricated panels, the glass and terracotta already in place. Each panel will then be securely affixed in its spot, connecting snugly with the panels above, below and around it. The benefits of this system are numerous, according to Walter Jones, Senior Vice President, Campus Transformation:

  • It’s safer. Unitized curtain walls can be installed with the crew working inside the building. No outside scaffolding is needed.
  • It’s quicker. The detail work of pre-fabricating the panels is done off-site, at the same time other construction is taking place on the building.
  • The quality is better. Because the panels are manufactured in a factory, we have much better control of the final product.
  • It’s cheaper. The efficiencies of the process and uniformity of the panels will save on labor and material costs, and the improved safety should save us on insurance.

Once the visual mock-up is complete in August, it will give us the chance to see how the panels fit together, how they line up and how they look. We’ll be able to correct any flaws and perfect the design and fit before the real panels are manufactured.

The result is going to look – and perform – better than even the most flawless wallpaper job.

About the MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

For more information, visit