Contract - October 2009 - (Page 50)

design flexi-school Students and faculty at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Health Science Complex 5th Floor T-Wing in Seattle, understand the importance of stretching now that they are learning in the flexible environs provided by NBBJ By Amy Milshtein Photography by Benjamin Benschneider After 40 years of the same old, same old you can get a little stiff. Mind you, the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW SoM) was doing fine in its confined space for the last four decades. The school, founded in 1946, has been ranked in the top 10 in Family Medicine, Rural Medicine, AIDS, Women’s Health, and many more by U.S. News and World Report. It also is second in federal research funding and first for public institutions. Yet what makes those numbers really astounding is the environment in which they were generated. The teaching and student study spaces were so outmoded that they were cited by the school’s accrediting agency. Enter NBBJ with a renovation that brings to the interior light, space, flexibility, and a touch of whimsy. “We needed to inject identity into the space,” recalls Brad Leathley, AIA, principal in charge, NBBJ. “The T-Wing is just a small part of the school’s millions of square feet of beige corridors. We wanted to create a teaching environment that felt special, that felt like home.” It also had to be contortionist-flexible. The spaces must accommodate a variety of teaching styles throughout the day, ranging from classroom to lab to exam room, all scalable from six to 40 students— and all of it on the fly. “The configuration changes hour by hour,” explains Hogie Fritsch, lead designer, NBBJ. “We wanted to make it easy for teachers and students to quickly divide the classroom as needed.” Movable wall panels prove a given, but instead of hiding them behind alcoves the designers emphasized the rooms’ flexibility by showing them off. Curtains hang from ceiling clouds that, when drawn, allow a public classroom to become a private examination room. Tables are sturdy enough for students to sit on them for physical exams yet light enough to move around. Walls do double and triple duty as each of them is either tackable or a white board. “We made use of every surface given to us,” Fritsch continues. They also brought some much-needed daylight into the classroom. “A very difficult thing to do because all of the shafts for the building are on the exterior,” says Jill Morelli, University of Washington School of Medicine director of facilities. The designers utilized translucent glass on the classroom walls to maintain some privacy yet still allow sunshine to penetrate. Part of millions of square feet of beige hallways, University of Washington School of Medicine’s newly remodeled 5th floor T-Wing boasts an identity all its own. contract october 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - October 2009

Contract - October 2009
Slim Jim
Common Threads
Two Roads Diverge
All Together Now
Healthy Building
Face-To-Face Value
Life Goes On...
To Your Health
Designers Rate: Healthcare Seating
In Defense of Marriage (Of Convenience)
Ad Index

Contract - October 2009