Students unveil plans for New Jersey children’s health facility

Graduate architecture students from Texas A&M unveiled design concepts for a 75,000-square-foot ambulatory health care facility for children to be constructed in New Jersey as part of an interstate pediatric health system.

The Nov. 13 unveiling at the Langford Architectur Center on the Texas A&M campus was the first of two public events showcasing work completed in a fall 2013 Architecture-For-Health studio led by George J. Mann, holder of the Ronald L. Skaggs Endowed Professorship in Health Facilities Design.

Ambulatory facilities provide health care consultation, prevention, treatment, or intervention using advanced medical technology or procedures on an outpatient basis. The New Jersey satellite project, part of the Nemours Children’s Health System, is being constructed to meet increasing demands for accessible ambulatory health care facilities that are less expensive to build and operate than traditional hospital facilities.

Five teams, each composed of two graduate architecture students, created the design concepts and models that will also be shown 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15 in Conference Room A of Nemour’s Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fla. The architecture teams were advised on the project by graduate landscape architecture students led by Eric Bardenhagen, assistant professor of landscape architecture.

The student's solutions, designed with sustainability and lean construction principals in mind, include solar panels, rainwater collectors for irrigating the landscape, large entryway canopies offering protection from inclement weather, valet parking, and indoor and outdoor play areas. Tailored for the New Jersey climate, all five concepts include provisions for future expansion.

“Designing the facility was a challenge,” reported architecture students Victoria Garcia and Mario Salinas. “We tried to think about making a visit to the doctor enjoyable from a child’s perspective. It forced us to learn how a medical facility really works .”

In developing their designs, students were also advised by Jeff Kent, managing director of facilities for Nemours and a 1975 Master of Architecture graduate from Texas A&M, and by Ed Huckaby, an outstanding alumnus of the College of Architecture who leads pediatric design projects at FKP Architects in Houston. Kent and Huckaby previously teamed up to work on a major addition to Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Del.

“These high-caliber, experienced professionals provided students with expert guidance and practical considerations throughout the formulation of their design solutions,” said Mann.

“We learned how to design a healthcare facility and work with professionals to produce a final project,” reported architecture students Nanven Dogun and Wanuzi Wang.

Nemours is a non-profit organization created by philanthropist Alfred I. du Pont in 1936, dedicated to improving children’s health. The foundation operates the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando's Medical City and children’s clinics in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

posted November 12, 2013