University of North Carolina
School of Medicine, Medical Education Building
An interprofessional "campus heart" for med ed
Generations of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine students trained in Berryhill Hall over the past five decades, but the largely unchanged space was hindering the school's goal of being the nation's leading public medical school. Beginning with a programming and conceptual design Feasibility Study, Flad worked with the university and the School of Medicine leadership on a plan that would enhance the delivery of its curriculum, accommodate growth in the program from 190 to 240 students, and boost the school's statewide impact on the physician workforce.
Flad, working with partner The S/L/A/M Collaborative, designed the Medical Education Building (MEB) to facilitate a redesigned curriculum based on group instruction and team-based learning, creating a "campus heart" for the medical education experience. The eight-story, 172,000-square-foot building, located on the historic Berryhill Hall site, includes a 400-seat Active Learning Theater; two floors dedicated to clinical skills and simulated learning; flexible labs; and classroom, study, and collaboration spaces. Classrooms accommodate several scales of learning, including lectures, seminars, working groups, and independent study. Diverse support spaces provide students and faculty with space for socializing and informal learning, encouraging an already robust academic community.
The program also features 25,000 square feet of immersive and experiential learning spaces, including simulation and clinical skills suites, flex labs, and virtual visualization labs. Spaces such as those for anatomy, microbiology, and simulation are adaptable and technologically advanced, allowing for later shifts in use and changing priorities.
One of the strengths of the MEB design is the ways in which the building creates a campus crossroads, as did Flad's design of the nearby Koury Oral Health Sciences Building. Interior and exterior community and social spaces that blur the lines between formal and informal learning are located to leverage existing facilities, enabling students, instructors, and staff to gather, study, and interact with each other, as well as with individuals from adjacent health affairs schools. An achievement in true interprofessional education, the MEB will be home to both the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Health Care leadership administrations, reflecting the integration of the healthcare system and medical school.
Flad Architects (architect of record and design architect), The SLAM Collaborative (medical education planner)