AIA Houston Recognizes Student Health Center Proposals

A student design competition hosted by AIA Houston’s Committee on Architecture for Health (CAH) asked groups to consider the integration of health services into underserved communities by proposing health centers near existing mass transit centers. Teams were comprised of four student designers, a faculty advisor, and a professional advisor. Architects from Morris Architects, HOK, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center participated as professional advisors for the three teams. 

The students had six weeks to prepare responses to the program before traveling to Houston for the juried presentation. The jurors were Gerard Van de Werken, chief architect with the Texas Department of State Health Services; Peter Dawson, AIA, senior vice president of facility services for Texas Children’s Hospital; Val Glitsch, FAIA, the incoming president of the Texas Society of Architects; and D. Kirk Hamilton, FAIA, a professor at Texas A&M University. The inaugural year of the competition brought together the energy of the architecture students and the experience of practicing professionals in a dialogue for the improvement of healthcare architecture.

The University of Texas at San Antonio School of Architecture

This student team developed a scheme that folded a healthcare facility into a nature preserve near a disadvantaged neighborhood in San Antonio. Replete with a daycare facility, walking trails, and a bike path knitted into the architecture, the solution exemplified the idea of preventative healthcare as an integral part of community development. 

The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

These students proposed a clinic based on thorough analysis of the proposed site’s adjacent population, in terms of the community’s general health and income level. The study demonstrated the clear need for a clinic in the selected neighborhood.

Texas Tech College of Architecture 

This proposal challenged preconceptions of the treatment environment by proposing mobile treatment rooms with a “machine in the garden” concept. It inverted the typical distribution of patient treatment rooms by proposing a method to bring the room to the patient rather than the other way around.  

This article is expanded content for Texas Architect July/August 2013.