Inspired by the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, the waving spandrels of the building façade are the first architectural element noticed as one drives into the medical health campus. Positioned with prime real estate, the team had a goal for the West campus to improve upon the daily experience of campus arrival and the half-mile walk to the College of Medicine’s main entrance.
The Hershey West Campus Green Extension is a transformative project which joins and unifies the greater campus and creates meaningful spaces in areas of passage.
The design process for the 1,300 space deck began with a thorough site and program analysis of the proposed planning for the structure and its integration into the West Campus. Campus site lines, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, landscape potential, and future building sites where all considerations. By vetting the garage program at the suggested location as well as alternatives, the collective team selected a superior site strategy for the garage and for connections to the planned Innovation Pavilion.
The design is rooted in an efficient and cost-effective parking deck layout. After developing several options, a progressive, forward-thinking aesthetic evolved for the exterior skin. Formally expressive horizontal precast elements and elegant glass stair towers relate to both the original modern, medical campus buildings and more recent additions.
The design strategy is centered on the creation of “green fingers” which extend from the outer trail network and meander around and in-between buildings to connect to the heart of the campus. By incorporating campus safety principles (careful consideration of site lighting, height of vegetation, visibility, definition of spaces and location of blue phones) and accessibility standards (width and slope of pathways), the project greatly improves the pedestrian circulation, creating a more comfortable and enjoyable campus experience between destinations.
Striving also for an economical solution that was innovative and related to the iconic precast campus was a key goal for the architectural team. Wanting to keep costs low and three-dimensional visual effects high, the waved design came to life.