Grad design students take top honors in Houston AIA contest

Zhipeng Lu

A striking departure from the Texas Medical Center’s existing architecture, an award-winning design concept by four Texas A&M graduate architecture students for a next-generation healthcare facility in Houston provides patients and pedestrians with elevated walkway access to other medical center buildings.

The design, featuring a 30,000 square-foot facility with a circular roof that doubles as a pedestrian path, won first place honors Feb. 25, 2016 in a contest at the annual Healthcare Symposium Exhibition and Social hosted by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on Healthcare Architecture.

The students’ concept was developed in response to contest organizers’ call for “fresh, creative and new ideas with the future in mind.”

Students were asked to design an atypical facility at the southwestern edge of the medical center by anticipating where healthcare will be in 20 years.

With advice from Zhipeng Lu, Texas A&M architecture lecturer, and Yong Gan ‘06, an architect with WHR Architects, the students, chosen for the project by Lu from a group of applicants, had just four weeks to create their entry.

Their concept includes a wide, undulating walking path on the facility’s roof that pedestrians access by simply walking onto a series of gently rising stairs in an outdoor atrium that lead to the top of the building.

Partially covered by a “green” roof, the path tops a walk-in clinic and pharmacy, education center and gym as well as an organic food market, becoming an extended, elevated walkway that connects pedestrians with other medical center buildings on blocks adjacent to the site.

“The path’s unique, organic form imitates a ribbon and seamlessly connects the site to adjacent buildings and retains the original site’s natural characteristics,” said Lu.

Contest organizers also asked students to provide spaces in their design for people to connect to nature. The Texas A&M team responded by including a new pond on the lot, and surrounded it with green space to provide a unique medical center destination. The pond and green space are visible to people in the site’s facility through its full-height glass partitions.

The entry was created by graduate architecture students Taylor Dedeke, Niloo Hosseini, Jin Ting Lee and Pranav Shauche.

It’s the second consecutive year Texas A&M graduate students have won the contest.

In 2015, students advised by Kirk Hamilton, interim director of the Center for Health Systems and Design, and adviser Fernando Rodrigues, health and wellness director at Gensler, designed a mixed-use healthcare facility for a site in Austin.



posted March 24, 2016