Photo Credit: © HDR + CorganAuthors Hank Adams, AIA, and Chuck Armstrong, AIA, from the new Parkland Hospital design team of HDR + Corgan, share the process their team went through to create the facility's master plan in HEALTHCARE DESIGN 's four-part online exclusive series. The design team simultaneously executed both the master planning and hospital schematic design processes to achieve a completely integrated design solution. In the second installment of the series, Adams and Armstrong discuss how connections to the surrounding area were created through the planning and design process.

Creating connections through dynamic planning and design

The multidisciplinary team established a strong design vision for the new Parkland Hospital, striving constantly to “define the standards of excellence for public academic health systems.”

The theme for the master plan grew from addressing the diverse needs of the groups of people, or communities, who experience Parkland on a daily basis. The team focused on the family/public community, the physician/staff community, and the patient community. The idea was to start with the smallest unit—the bedside—and work outward, taking the communities to the site. This led to organizational ideas that embraced transportation, navigation of the site, and facilities. It also introduced the concept of “linear parks.”

The linear parks concept is central to the focus on navigation. Navigation means that users can easily ascertain their travel path through visual cues. View corridors to the campus perimeter provide a recurring orientation to the user as well as a pleasing experience. Vehicular circulation is contained in a few primary areas to keep the solution simple and easy to orient the visitor.

A long diagonal axis evolved from the “morphing” of the street grid to create a central spine to organize the entire complex and facilitate the linear parks concept. The diagonal esplanade also allows better orientation and connectivity to UTSW, Children’s Medical Center, and the overall district. Landscaped courtyards between buildings become the user’s orientation space in a larger urban environment.

The planning process included creating “connections” to the surrounding urban context, to the community served by Parkland, to a new light rail transit system, to neighboring institutions, and especially to patients/families. The resulting campus master plan and hospital design is a rational and dynamic expression of the programmatic requirements and healthcare best practices, while also establishing connectivity throughout the medical district and community.

From its inception, the design of the new Parkland Hospital has been distinctly about the medical center’s relevance and importance as a civic anchor and its connection to the city’s urban fabric. The medical district is home to three cornerstone institutions: UTSW Medical Center, one of the world’s premier academic medical centers with four active Nobel laureates; Children’s Medical Center, a leading institution dedicated to the comprehensive care of children; and Parkland Hospital, a world-renowned teaching hospital and primary medical center for the citizens of Dallas County, Texas. Parkland works in direct collaboration with both UTSW and Children’s Medical Center.

The master plan establishes three major neighborhoods: the existing Parkland campus, the new Parkland campus, and the future transit-oriented development.

These neighborhoods were also established to provide complimentary massing, density, and land use. The large size of the new medical center made it necessary to gradually step down in scale as the structures progressed toward a nearby intersection. The greatest density of buildings will be oriented within close proximity of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail station and bus transit center, with lower densities stepping down again toward the eastern edge of the campus.

Another concept developed early in the original master plan was the idea of putting the “park” back in Parkland. At the center of the new campus will be a "wellness park," a two-acre island of trees and plants that can be accessed by patients, staff, and visitors who enter through the hospital. Within the new park is a meditation garden directly connected with large doors opening directly into the hospital chapel. The combination of this relationship to public transportation and the central concept of linear parks as main elements for orientation and navigation established a strong developmental framework for the overall master plan. Check back on www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com for the third installment of this online exclusive series on the new Parkland Hopsital to hear how the multidisciplinary team established a strong design vision for the facility. To read the first article in the series, go here. Hank Adams is Vice President and Healthcare Principal with HDR Architecture. Chuck Armstrong is Principal with Corgan Associates. HDR + Corgan is the joint venture design team for the new Parkland Hospital project. For more information about the Parkland Hospital project, please visit http://newparkland.parklandhospital.com/ .

Photo Credit: © HDR + Corgan