University of Utah Concepts for the Medical Education & Discovery Center (MED)
As part of the planning collaboration for the U of U Health Sciences Campus Master Plan Update, MHTN was asked to conceive concepts for the Medical Education & Discovery Building (MED). The MED Center is intended as the centerpiece of the new master plan, creating a heart for the campus that emphasizes the unique setting, and sets it apart as a nationally recognized innovative hub and academic medical center.
Four concepts for the MED were explored, each inspired differently by the mountain geology of the Wasatch Front and the unique potential of indoor-outdoor relationships.
One concept portrays peaked and undulating enclosures, with exhilarating spaces carved in between, revealing multi-level daylit trails, thereby reinforcing themes of exploration and discovery.
A second concept Imagines the MED’s highly collaborative internal groups housed in a series of distinguishable neighborhoods raised above a highly transparent ground floor pavilion. This vibrant open space acts as a visible extension of the exterior heart of campus.
A third concept is inspired by easing east-west travel on campus. Lifting pedestrians uphill, a ramped platform rises from the west road to bring people to the second level, and central atrium. A skyway garden, or occupiable roof bridge, reaches to the highest east bench. Framing the sky and surrounding views from level to level, the concept becomes a vehicle for reaching all directions.
The fourth concept examines the MED as a formal expression of a metaphorical bridge. With programs and offices housed in the body of the structure, the focus is on people passing through and connecting beneath. A singular grand gesture of an open arched lobby space allows the MED Plaza to slip in, unifying the experience between inside and outside, and enabling fluid access, and establishing an identifiable center of campus.