Report from the Site: Parkland Hospital Tour
The Architecture Matters Committee, with the help of Veletta Lill, organized a tour of Parkland Hospital for the January monthly Chapter meeting. With over 40 AIA and Allied Members in attendance, the sold-out tour was quite a treat! The collaboration of Corgan + HDR has resulted in a truly remarkable project.
At just over two million square feet, it is easy to be overwhelmed upon entry by the sheer size of the structure and the 3-story atrium. However, the design team did a wonderful job of balancing the scale to the visitor. Once inside, decisions are reduced to just two directions: left to the WISH [Women, Infant Surgical Hospital] or to the right for the main hospital. From there, navigation is obvious with respective elevator banks.
Once a hospital floor, the scale again compresses; awash with subdued colors and warm tones of the finishes and way finding is apparent, if not intuitive. The plan is a “race track” concept which divides the building along its 600+ feet long axis (the length of two football fields). Various color coded departments are further broken down in manageable quadrants, allowing you to see only about 18 rooms at once. Even with all the utilities required for hospitals to function, the individual rooms feel more like a hotel than a hospital. It's a nice touch if you should find yourself recovering for a few days…
On the helipad – which can accommodate two helicopters, we enjoyed an impressive 360 degree view of Dallas. From this vantage point, you can see the planning effort that was made to provide a generous green space corridor allowing the front door to be seen from the intersection of Harry Hines and Medical District Drive. Noted on the tour, there will be over 500 trees planted on site, with 100 of them creating a “park” setting adjacent to the lobby and cafeteria bringing the “park” back to Parkland Hospital.
At one point on the tour, the superintendent from BARA Construction shared a story. In the height of construction they had over 2,000 workers on site. When gathered in a large group, the workers were asked, “how many of you were born at Parkland?” The answer: just over half of them raised their hands. And it’s no wonder, since Parkland delivers about 40 babies every day.
Kudos to Corgan + HDR, who worked together to bring such a gift to the community and to the City of Dallas.
I look forward to another tour as there is just so much to absorb and appreciate.