Harrell Medical Education Building
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Landscape Architecture, Construction Documents, Site Planning, Conceptual Design, Sustainable Concepts in LID Area
The recently completed Harrell Medical Education Building at the University of Florida serves as the primary identifier for the UF School of Medicine. Recruitment, applications, and education using large classrooms with high tech simulators will take place in this state of the art building. The site location was critical and controversial surrounding the design and construction of the building. David Conner + Associates (DC+A) was tasked to preserve and design around a 78-inch oak tree that is historically important to the university and the site itself. The building therefore embraces the tree as a central feature while the leaves cascade over an outdoor courtyard, a special meeting place for gatherings and student interaction. DC+A designed a garden surrounding the courtyard so as to blend the building and outside into one; when one looks outside from the inside, a calming and peaceful garden awaits them. A vehicle drop-off for ceremonial events was also incorporated into the design. Connections from the building to the outdoor space were imperative and are evidenced by using similar materials and techniques, such as limestone and paving patterns. Sustainability efforts were also implemented. Rainwater is captured from the plaza and drop off areas and collected in bioswales surrounding the courtyard. DC+A accomplished a purposeful feeling in this design, movement from the building to an outdoor campus in a gracious and transparent manner.