Human-Focused Healing

July 1, 2008

Dallas, TX - Streaming sunlight and the therapeutic sounds of flowing water add to the ambiance of healing instilled in the design for the new Ambulatory Clinic Building on the campus of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. The opening of the clinic marked the completion of the first phase of the university's mission to replace its aging hospital and clinical buildings with new, state-of-the-art facilities designed to accommodate inpatient hospital care for over 92,000 people and nearly 1.7 million outpatient visits a year.

In 2000, mindful of the need for facilities that project the cutting edge research and patient care services provided inside, the university commissioned a master land use plan to guide the replacement of the medical school/hospital campus. FKP Architects of Record, Houston, TX, and Associate Architect Jon Lee, FAIA of San Francisco, CA developed the master plan and the design for the Ambulatory Clinic, which gives definition to the aesthetic concepts that will define the replacement campus.

The resulting plan embraces the principles of new urbanism and LEED principles of sustainability to create a new high-tech, higher density facility with a distinctly human focus. As the campus develops, each new structure will be oriented to present an open face to the surrounding community. To tie the new structure into the existing campus vernacular, the architects gave the two-level base for diagnostic and treatment services of the new Ambulatory Clinic building, which will also support a new hospital tower, a pre-cast concrete façade. High-glazed curtain walls on the north and west faces of the building and a courtyard cut into the base draw natural sunlight through the public spaces of the facility. The east and south walls were clad in Reynobond® ACM with tight punched windows and shading systems to provide a modern aesthetic reflecting the cutting-technology and medical services housed inside. Healing gardens with water features and green plazas interwoven into the design will provide peaceful retreats for patients and their visitors. The architects also used aluminum to screen the rooftop mechanical systems from the views of future towers and to help cut the energy load.

Armetco Systems Inc. of Justin, TX, fabricated 30,000 square feet of Reynobond® ACM, 4mm, PE core with a custom Seafoam Metallic, three-coat Kynar finish for the wall panels, soffit panels and curtain wall transom panels. MPG Erectors of Justin, TX, installed the panels in Armetco Systems' RDX4 rout-and-return dry seal system.  Michael Shirley, AIA LEED AP, Senior Design Architect for FKP, said that the architects specified Reynobond® ACM for the project because of the modern aesthetic it projects - the flatness and crispness of the material, and the longevity of the finish you can achieve with painted aluminum. The rout-and-return dry seal system was specified to allow the material to expand and contract in extreme temperatures. Balfour Beatty Construction of Dallas, TX, served as general contractor for the project.

"The Ambulatory Clinic was placed on the site of an old parking lot behind the main building," said Shirley. "There was very little open ground, so we had to adjust the design to literally shoe-horn it into the site. We were also limited by a subsurface stream that flows through the site and existing storm water culverts." The team also moved and replaced aging fuel tanks that power the hospital's generators and a number of utility lines. All construction was completed while the hospital continued to operate.

Patients enter the seven-story, 210,000-square-foot Ambulatory Clinic Building through a two-story atrium. The ground level houses an orthopedic clinic, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratories and space for food and general patient services. On the second floor, a 30,000-square-foot ambulatory surgery center houses eight operating suites and give procedure rooms.  The third floor includes rooms for extended-stay patient recovery. Offices for physicians and clinical services are placed on the 4th, 5th and 6th floors, and the 7th is open for future expansion.

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