The Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas is a once-in-a-lifetime project that will have a positive impact on lives and healthcare in Austin for decades to come. The team’s challenge was to maximize the dollars available to find creative solutions to meet Seton’s expectations for a teaching hospital and a platform for future healthcare for the Austin area.
The exterior design contributes to a vibrant, diverse, and pedestrian-friendly urban district in the heart of the University of Texas at Austin campus, including humanely-scaled architectural expression and a variety of pedestrian amenities (seating, bicycle racks, shade trees, etc.) along Red River Street, as well as visual access to the natural beauty of a redeveloped Waller Creek on the west side of the building. In addition, exterior landscaped courtyard areas were included in the design for access and use by the public, as well as calming places of respite for hospital staff.
To facilitate speed, quality, and cost-effective construction in the field, the HKS design team has collaborated closely with JE Dunn to prefabricate both exterior and interior repetitive elements in the hospital design. Exterior wall panels (including precast panels and unitized glazing modules) were prefabricated in an off-site warehouse, shipped, and installed on site. Similarly, patient headwalls and patient room toilets were also fabricated off-site, leading to greater quality control, cost savings, and construction schedule reduction.
Despite the constraints of its urban site, the Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas is poised for growth and expansion. The north bed tower is designed to expand vertically by four floors, with the potential for an additional 120 patient beds. Horizontal expansion is planned for the second floor surgical suite, and the podium level is also designed to accommodate a third floor ancillary expansion.