KWK Architects Completes Design & Renovation for the WU School of Medicine

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Transformed space supports the school’s Department of Psychiatry

Construction is complete on a project to renovate the second, third, and fourth floors of Renard Hospital on the Washington University School of Medicine campus in St. Louis. The renovated floors in the 1950s-era hospital now support the school’s Department of Psychiatry’s office and education needs. KWK Architects led the design team, including engineering consultant SSC Engineering and structural engineer Alper Audi.

“The renovation increased the quality and efficiency of the space to allow the department to bring together additional psychiatry faculty and staff from across campus to a central location. The move freed up space in the Taylor Avenue Building, which has been allocated for research and clinical use by the Department of Psychiatry,” said Melissa Rockwell-Hopkins, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Operations and Facilities with the School of Medicine.

Renovations to the 18,000-square-foot space included improvements to the thermal envelope by adding insulation and new windows along with a vapor barrier. A new mechanical system was installed on the second floor to serve the new suites, which involved careful design in routing the ductwork throughout the building while increasing its overall height. The updated mechanical systems included new AHU/VAV units, new plumbing and waste lines, electrical panels, and dimmable LED lighting.

Each floor was designed with private faculty offices around the perimeter with support staff located in the central open office. Taller ceilings, glass transoms, and workstations with glass dividers provide an open workspace environment connected to the exterior and open on the interior without sacrificing privacy.

“The biggest challenge for our team was coordinating the new mechanical system in a building with very tight floor to floor heights to achieve the higher ceiling heights and enhance the daylighting,” said KWK Project Manager Bob Buckman. “The finish materials were selected to give the project an updated look with durable materials that relate to the entry floor below.”

The second floor features a flexible conference room which is subdivided with an operable acoustic partition. The partition can be easily opened to provide meeting space for up to 55 people to support the group’s education mission.

“The goal to increase the accessible daylighting to support wellness and production for the staff was a key driver of the design. At the core of each space are a central gathering area for lunch and breaks, flexible seating for touchdown work, and a central conference room near the entry to each floor.”

The project was completed in September 2020. The general contractor on the project was Lawlor Construction.

In 2015, Washington University School of Medicine hired KWK Architects to develop a phase one-campus plan https://outlook.wustl.edu/building-connections/. The Building Connections plan included vital mission areas, such as Medical Education, led by Neuner. KWK facilitated a detailed review of the Medical Education Program with key leaders of the Medical School. The team analyzed which departments needed to be adjacent to each other, where the different departments made sense on campus, and which departments could share what spaces, if any. Gaining a thorough understanding of just how the School of Medicine utilized its existing space was a crucial step in the process.

Since the master plan’s completion in 2015, KWK has worked on over 50 design and study projects on the School of Medicine Campus. These include projects outlined in the master plan and additional enabling projects that have helped support campus growth and recruitment activities. Recently completed projects were the final phase of the 2015 Phase One Education Renovation Plan.

For more information about KWK Architects’ Master Planning expertise, visit www.kwkarchitects.com/markets/details/master-planning.

About KWK Architects

Founded in 2013 by five architects with a combined 120 years of higher education knowledge and experience, KWK Architects partners with colleges and universities across the United States to create innovative and inspiring places that enhance campus life. Areas of expertise include student housing and dining and academic and science/technology spaces. For more information about KWK Architects, visit www.kwkarchitects.com or contact the Director of Marketing Cindy Hausler at cindyh@kwkarchitects.com.

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