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Military Medical Hospital - 2015 AIA Top Ten Green Project

Many stakeholders originally wanted to replicate the existing architecture, ponderous brick façades with punched windows on every façade, regardless of orientation. The design team proposed to complement rather than mimic the existing aesthetic - to evolve from a military »fortress« toward an architecture of transparency and lightness. The design makes a very large building feel smaller in scale while responding to solar orientation and environmental context to create a positive environment for healing.

Jury comment: This Veterans Affairs project exhibits a strong sensibility to sustainable practice throughout its high-intensity program, comprised of in-patient beds, a national burn center and a surgical research center. The site location is dictated by the presence of a current medical complex in central Texas, which complicates attaining the energy savings that are already difficult to achieve in a major hospital. The architecture, while sympathetic to the existing complex, expands the vocabulary to be inclusive of various shading devices that promote energy savings goals while still allowing for views from and into the hospital.

Natural lighting is accepted as a part of the healing process, which is important for occupants of this type of facility. The site planning and landscape complement each other as additional aspects of a healing environment. San Antonio is one of the most challenging climates in the United States for cooling and dehumidification, but this project thoughtfully and efficiently conditions the spaces for optimal comfort.

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