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The Nursing and Biomedical Sciences Building is located in Houston, within the Texas Medical Center. The functional program includes 250,000 square feet of classroom, seminar, office, continuing education, and student support facilities. 


1999 — Progressive Architecture Citation
1998 — Canadian Architect Award

The area of the site necessarily implies a high-rise building. To counteract the tendency of high-rise buildings to isolate people, the floors are interconnected by multi-story spaces. Social areas such as the bookstore, food services, auditorium, and various lounges are located within or adjacent to these spaces to reinforce their role in supporting academic community. The remaining areas between these multistorey spaces are designed to be easily changed. This is facilitated by a clear span structure, a modular partition system, and an accessible floor plenum.

Because of the orientation of the site, the primary facades of the building face directly east and west, resulting in extreme solar conditions.To prevent solar heat gain, the east and west sides of the building are shaded by louvers. These louvers also act as reflective light shelves, directing natural light into the centre of the building. The roof of the building is protected from the sun by a large parasol. Constructed of photovoltaic cells, this parasol produces electricity to operate the fans associated with the mechanical systems. In addition, the rooftop system is also designed to collect rainwater, which is stored in a large cistern.

Location: Houston, Texas
Winning Submission, International Design
Competition, 1996
Client: University ofTexas, Houston Health Science Center

Architect: Patkau Architects Inc.

Project Team: Tom Bessai, Michael Cunningham, Maria Denegri, Joanne Gates, Julie LaFreneire, Timothy Newton, John Patkau, Patricia Patkau, David Shone, Peter Sturzenegger, Steve Suchy, Peter Suter, Tamara Ulisko, Kevin Wharton

Structrural /Mechanical / Electrical: Ove Arup + Partners California