The Claude Moore Building—named in honor of a 1916 UVA medical school graduate and philanthropist—represents the evolution in medical-education learning spaces. The facility supports changes in medical education away from traditional book learning to an emphasis on earlier, hands-on, interdisciplinary clinical training. To facilitate the new learning techniques and attract the best students, the project creates a mix of classroom environments that supports the school’s new systems-based curricula, which stresses teaching based on systems, such as cardiovascular and respiratory, rather than on subjects, such as pathology and anatomy.
The centerpiece is the learning studio—the largest such facility in the country—which houses the full medical school class of 168 students. The learning studio is on the ground floor of the central, two-story glass rotunda volume, the building’s signature and symbol to the campus of the medical school’s progressive nature. The big open, double-height, circular studio is designed for flexible arrangements of tables to accommodate students working in groups. Multiple projection screens are placed along the perimeter to facilitate the teamwork environment. A large, double-height, circular lecture hall is featured on the upper level for more traditional presentations.
The medical school houses new technologies and facilities for 21st-century medicine, including wireless communication, a full-on virtual hospital, mock outpatient exam rooms, clinical teaching and assessment rooms, small group classrooms with multimedia capabilities, and large open studio teaching spaces that support both didactic instruction and small-group interaction. The building incorporates a state-of-the-art Medical Simulation Training Center for teaching complex procedures and honing vital skills in a safe virtual environment, increasing patient safety while lessening incidence of malpractice. Debriefing and faculty view rooms keep communication lines open, encourage development of interpersonal techniques, and give space for real-life analyses.
The design of the medical school building makes a commanding and contemporary statement. The curved shapes of the learning studio and lecture hall are a modern glass abstraction of the Jeffersonian rotunda and acts as a pivot point connecting the orthogonal shape of the classrooms, support services, and clinical spaces to the older buildings on campus. The building materials of brick and glass unite the red brick motif of the campus, creating a layered effect and integrating it into the overall texture of the campus.
CO Architects utilizes many sustainable approaches to meet the requirements of the LEED-Silver rating: energy-efficient HVAC systems with heat recovery; recycled content in building materials; cool roof to reduce heat island effect; low VOC paints to improve indoor air quality; storm water and other water-use reduction strategies to decrease runoff; daylighting and views; insulated Low-E glazing to control solar heat gain; and native plants for water-efficient landscaping.