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Dramatic freestanding canopy protects medical center patients

Exteriors, Features | September 1, 2008 | By:

Adding a dramatic canopy at the entrance to the UT Southwest Medical Center improved the patient experience.

Studies show that a quality environment has as much to do with swift patient recovery as the quality of the medicine dispensed by staff. It only makes sense that a green, plant filled settings can increase health conditions in hospital and medical facilities, and the physical approach to one of these places can — like first impressions — make lasting impressions on the minds of both those seeking health and those administering it.

The University of Texas, Southwest Medical Center’s Ambulatory Surgical Center cares about its patients’ well being. That’s why they had FKP Architects, who also designed the surgical center, design a dramatic freestanding canopy for the building’s entrance. It serves two purposes: first, the 30.5m-long canopy draws attention to the building entrance, and second, it protects patients and visitors from the sun or rain.

The steel cantilevered arms set up a regular undulation by canting upwards and downwards slightly as they march along the length, creating the opportunity for curvature in the stretched fabric covering. The 3m-deep frame is powder-coated with a staple-in system for fastening the fabric in tight. Up lights on each support column gives ample lighting at night, as well as lead the eye toward the building entrance.

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