Flad Architects

PLANNING FOR SUCCESS

Designing for Medical Eduction

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine has maintained a high ranking among medical research and clinical institutions, all while located in a facility designed to support a very different era in medical teaching methods. Now, having completed an initial planning study, Flad Architects and partners The S/L/A/M Collaborative are engaged in the design of a new medical education building to replace the 1960s-era existing facility, in anticipation of future growth in the medical school from a current class size of 180 students to 230 students.

Enabling one of the largest medical school class sizes in the country has challenged Flad to expand the physical scope and scale of the program to accommodate significant growth, while maintaining the school's singularly service-oriented and inclusive culture.

Projected to open in 2022, the new building will expand on a curriculum model organized around team-based learning. Flexible classrooms will accommodate several scales of learning – lectures, seminars, working groups, and independent study. Spaces such as those for anatomy, microbiology, and simulation will be adaptable and technologically advanced, allowing for later shifts in use and changing priorities. A diversity of support spaces will also provide students and faculty with space for socializing and informal learning, encouraging an already robust academic community.

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Our work for UNC-CH has been strategic, but detailed. The school wants a medical education building they can be proud of and that will aid in recruitment, retention, and training of students. What they're really missing is a campus heart for the medical education experience. As it stands now, if you're not in class, you're not in the building. The school is envisioning a student-centered environment and has used Flad's design of its Koury Oral Health Sciences Building as an example of student spaces that work, to the degree that the building attracts people from elsewhere on campus.

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