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Batman, Designer of Buildings

This past summer, Gillette Children’s marked its 125th anniversary with an event called “Imagiland” in the first level of its newly opened parking structure. The celebration featured a number of fun activities for kids receiving specialized care for brain, bone, and movement conditions. A petting forest, a station for airbrush tattoos, and a silent disco were all big hits. But the most popular attraction by far was Batman and his Batmobile.

Kids flocked to have their picture taken with Batman; many climbed or were helped into his vehicle to grip its sleek steering wheel, push a button that lifted the rear hood like a wing, and experience the engine roar. At one point in the afternoon, a 10-year-old girl who was born with no arms sat in the open Batmobile with the Caped Crusader, her father standing nearby. When the girl told Batman that she attended Friendly Hills Middle School in Mendota Heights, the superhero had a surprise for her. “I designed your school,” he said in his signature gravelly voice. “I’ll tell you another secret: I also designed this new building we’re in.”

“Dad, Batman is an architect!” exclaimed the wide-eyed girl.

“Seeing Mohammed with our patients truly warmed my heart beyond anything I expected that day,” says Kit Brady, Vice President of People Strategy at Gillette Children’s. “His dedication to show up in a Batman suit—I don’t have words for that.”

Gillette Children’s is equally thrilled with the LSE Architects–designed building, completed this fall. The five-floor structure adds 500 parking spaces on four levels, with an office floor on top featuring 26,000 square feet of daylit interiors with skyline views. At the recommendation of LSE and general contractor McGough, Gillette Children’s invested in cutting into the hillside at the back of the site to create more room for the building. The larger footprint allowed for a much higher percentage of flat-bay parking—and thus greater accessibility for patients and their families—while ensuring opportunities for future expansion.

See full story at: AIA Enter. 

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