Collective Learning: Texas Architect Magazine

The Health Learning Building (HLB) at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin has caught the attention of Texas Architect Magazine for several reasons. Designed by Page with The S/L/A/M Collaborative, it is the first facility to be completed in a planned new medical district, as well as the first facility to be completed at the first medical school to be built from the ground up at a tier-one research university in the U.S. in 50 years. Dell Medical School is designed to develop 21st century physician-leaders which in turn will facilitate Austin in becoming a model healthy city.

Page Senior Principal Larry Speck, FAIA, who led the design for the HLB, also worked on the University of Texas at Austin Medical District Master Plan. He told Canan Yetman of Texas Architect Magazine that the Dell Medical School motto, ‘Rethink Everything,’ which was conceived by Page/Dyal Branding & Graphics, "pretty much describes how they wanted to approach the design of both the district and the building with a focus on inter-professional education and collaboration among members of a broad community of healthcare colleagues. The idea of the ‘lone wolf’ medical student working in an individualistic, competitive environment was anathema from the beginning.”

Numerous other unique elements informed the building's mission and design from The University of Texas's material traditions to its location at an intersection near Waller Creek to the numerous live oaks serving as a buffer. Connectivity between users within the building plays a significant role through a five-story cantilevered staircase visible from outside that creates a strong social edge. Connectivity with the public is also addressed through a growing art collection that starts with a seven-ton, 11-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a conch shell by British artist Marc Quinn that greets visitors in the courtyard.

To learn more about the nuances of the design for this building, which is the first manifestation of how the school is implementing its interactive, progressive, and ascendant curriculum, view Canan Yetman’s article for Texas Architect Magazine by clicking here.