Following our development of a strategic Masterplan for the Cleveland Clinic’s 168-acre campus, Foster + Partners was commissioned by the Clinic, together with Case Western Reserve University, to design a new health pavilion that looks to the future of integrated and interactive health education. The brief identified an area of our masterplan, close to the Clinic, that could be developed into a dedicated campus, combining two Schools of Medicine, a School of Dental Medicine and a School of Nursing.
With universities often being at the frontline of cutting edge research, the buildings that house them have to be flexible enough to accommodate emerging lines of scientific enquiry and newer technologies. The growing interdisciplinary nature of research needs informal meeting and debating spaces, and designs that encourage participation in subjects outside of each student’s individual curriculum, building a platform for practical learning and testing.
As a response to this, Foster + Partners designed the previously separate four schools as one multi-disciplinary building. Within this, key elements of each school are arranged around an internal central courtyard, maintaining their own identities, but with a layered series of spaces that can be shared to varying degrees. Working closely with clients and consultants we undertook a utilisation study, which identified that if we were to follow the original brief requirements, the rooms would only be utilised an average of 30% of the time. Through understanding teaching methods we were able to amalgamate spaces and increase flexibility to bring this average above 50%, allowing plenty of space for future growth but also giving us the opportunity to reduce the overall area and thus cost of the building. With this approach, the different faculties share teaching spaces, admin areas, lecture halls, recreational areas and even some technical teaching facilities. Each school is now able to share the costs and benefits of better building services, storage and amenities such as cafeterias and personnel support.
The integration of technology and flexibility around future teaching methods was at the heart of our approach. One key example of this was the removal of traditional anatomy facilities, replacing them with fully simulated facilities, including the first use of Hololens technology in such a context. To achieve this we worked closely with technology specialists and the client to create affordable and workable solutions. The subsequent removal of onerous servicing restraints and the space and money saved have allowed greater investment in future teaching methods, without reducing current teaching capability but rather with the possibility to encompass a far greater number of students connected remotely to the facilities.