Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
Over time, as medical centers grow out of immediate necessity, they often sprawl into a series of haphazardly connected buildings. With its “Renaissance Project,” Fletcher Allen Health Care sought to resolve this challenge at its main campus in Burlington, Vt., which it operates with the University of Vermont College of Medicine. The client hired Tsoi/Kobus & Associates to design a new master plan and ambulatory care facility that would integrate health care, education, and research—and establish a clear sense of place defined by a single access point.
Even under the best of circumstances, it’s difficult to unify 10 buildings, much less find the space for a new 950,000-square-foot building on an already crowded campus. Key program elements in the Renaissance Project included facilities for diagnostic and inpatient services, the Ambulatory Care Center, a Medical Education Center, a central utilities plant, and a 1,284-car parking structure. The architect chose to locate cars in an underground parking deck, using the structure’s roof as a landscaped, ceremonial approach to a main entry pavilion in the Ambulatory Care Center.
The sweeping, contemporary lines of the new main building create clearly defined edges that establish a sense of order as well as a forward-looking image for the institution. The new Patient Access Center dramatically improves circulation for patients by providing a single point of entry and connecting both inpatient and outpatient diagnostic and treatment facilities.
Deliberately situated at the interface of the Ambulatory Care Center and Patient Access Center, the new Medical Education Center provides a symbolic and physical bridge among patient care, teaching, and research. Along the southwestern elevation of this facility, which houses the medical library, a curving glass wall embraces Converse Hall, an adjacent historic structure that housed the original hospital.
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Carolyn L. Bates
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