Center for the Intrepid—National Armed Forces Physical Rehabilitation Center [Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX]
Project category: New construction (completed January 2007)
Chief administrator: Charles Scoville, Director, Amputee Program, (202) 782-5848
Firm: SmithGroup, (202) 974-0815
Design team: Philip Tobey, FAIA, FACHA, Principal-in-Charge; William Kline, AIA, CAA, LEED AP, Project Manager; Julian Master, LEED AP, Project Architect; Lora Schwartz, Medical Planner; Leslie Chang, Designer; Cheryl Brown, IIDA, LEED AP, Interior Designer (SmithGroup); William H. Hendrix, AIA, Design Principal (formerly with SmithGroup)
Photography: Timothy Hursley; one photo courtesy of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund
Total building area (sq. ft.): 65,000
Construction cost/sq. ft.: $538
Total construction cost (excluding land): $35,000,000
Since the war on terror began in 2001, more than 26,000 troops have been wounded. To meet an urgent and growing need for the care and rehabilitation of our wounded soldiers, an extraordinary team of physicians, researchers, philanthropists, architects, construction workers, and more than 600,000 American donors together took on an extraordinary mission: to create, in record time, the world's most technologically advanced physical rehabilitation facility for our wounded soldiers. From design through construction, the project was completed in an astonishing 18 months.
Designed as a bold, enduring monument in honor of the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed services, this stone-clad, elliptical rehabilitation center serves as a lasting tribute to their service. The Center for the Intrepid is designed to provide military patients and veterans with the best opportunity to regain their pre-injury abilities from severe extremity injuries, amputations, and burns in a supportive, healing environment. In addition, the center supports continued innovation and technologic advances in military medicine and serves as a prototype for similar Centers of Excellence worldwide.
The four-story, 65,000-sq.-ft. Center for the Intrepid accommodates the most sophisticated amputee rehabilitation technology worldwide, utilizing advanced prosthetics, computerized and video monitoring for biomechanical studies, virtual reality, robotics, and simulators. The center also provides specialized spaces for prosthetics fittings and adjustments, consultation and examination rooms, psychology, clinical nutritional services, social work, physical and occupational therapy, gait studies, telemedicine, and research.
In addition to the clinical areas, the design incorporates advanced physical training areas, an indoor pool, running track, climbing wall, gait lanes, uneven terrain and obstacle simulations, and various specialized equipment for advanced strength, balance, agility, and motor-skill therapy.
Most of the patient activities are intentionally placed along the outer edge of the building, where the generous use of glass provides patients, who often spend the entire day in rehabilitation, with views to the outside. Punching throughout the center's stepped metal roof is a central, glass-enclosed atrium that floods the building's core and adjacent treatment spaces with natural light. This key feature is the focal point for the activities on all floors and serves as the central wayfinding element of the facility. The ground floor entrance court penetrates completely through the building, offering access from all sides.
The Center for the Intrepid rehabilitates and pays homage to the courage and sacrifices of our military.