A&M design studio works
with Dallas architects

Students help desitgn new facility for
'short stay' hospital in Garland, Texas


Designs for a proposed 70,000-square-foot "short stay" hospital and medical office building in Garland, Texas were unveiled December 2003 at the HKS office in Dallas by 19 Texas A&M University architecture students who collaborated with HKS Inc. on the project.

HKS Inc., one of the nation's leading architecture firms, worked with the students to design a facility for the Presbyterian Healthcare System, and the students' designs were presented along side those of their professional mentors at the HKS office.

“A real-world project means so much more to the students than a routine hypothetical homework assignment,” said George J. Mann, the Ronald L. Skaggs Endowed Professor of Health Facilities Design at Texas A&M and project director for the studio collaboration with HKS.

“As a result of working with the highly accomplished architects at HKS, the students were extremely motivated and their learning experience was incredibly enhanced,” he said.

The collaboration was initiated last October 2003 when Mann's studio visited HKS and toured the 17-acre project site for the Presbyterian Garland Center for Diagnostics and Surgery. HKS had been commissioned to design the facility for Cambridge Holdings and the Presbyterian Healthcare System.

HKS Inc. has collaborated on numerous projects with the Texas A&M College of Architecture since becoming an advisory teaching firm in 1973.

"It's always satisfying and challenging to work with students. They are truly the future of our profession," said Ronald L. Skaggs, chairman of HKS Inc. and creator of the professorship currently held by Mann. "To have an opportunity to work collaboratively with one of our best clients on real-world issues is important to all involved."

After their initial tour of the project site, the students returned to College Station but remained in contact with the HKS architects responsible for the Garland hospital design. The HKS team visited the Texas A&M campus in October to conduct mid-point reviews of the student projects.

"The students spent the entire afternoon with the HKS architects, gained further insight into the project's complex design, and later revised their designs to incorporate the professional input," Mann said. "The project has been an excellent example of cooperation between professional practitioners and their clients for the benefit of students."

"Working on a professional project in cooperation with a large architectural firm, a developer, and a client immediately excited and overwhelmed me all at the same time,” said Lindsay Gavos, a third-year architecture student from Dallas.

"In every project I do, I find I learn a lot about myself and even surprise myself as far as what I am capable of doing along the way. This is by far the most technical project any of us as third-year undergraduate students have ever taken on," she continued, "and the fact that we all stuck with this project through changes and a number of different variables that can happen in real life, and still came out in the end with a design that we can be proud of, is in itself an accomplishment to me."

HKS Architects, Inc. was founded in 1939 by the late Harwood K. Smith, a 1935 graduate of Texas A&M. The firm, which has a widely diversified national and international practice, has designed more than 600 health facilities since 1971.

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