2015 AIA/AAH STERIS 48-Hour Design Charette 

- Healthcare Design Conference, Washington D.C. -

Four Schools are selected to participate in the annual Healthcare Design Conference Student Charette. The 2015 Healthcare Design Conference was held in Washington DC at the Gaylord National Harbor. Clemson was chosen, along with Ball State University, University of Kansas as well as Cornell to compete. Five students are selected to represent each school, and participating in a 48-hour, intense design charette on a health related topic within the context of the D.C. Metro area.

D.C. Health & Outreach

Taking advantage of the D.C. location, the project envisioned a joint partnership with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration coming together to create a center with the National Mall Presence where tourists and residents could learn and activate their health.  The proposed building was a 60,000 SF Wellness & Outreach Center, located on the triangular site along the National Mall just south of the Washington Monument, and adjacent to the USDA. The theme of Past, Present and Future, had to be incorporated both in the program as well as the design. It was up to the teams to interpret, execute and challenge the program based on what they saw fit.

We began the journey at the host firm, SmithgroupJJR for the project brief and site visit. We then used the remainder of the time to work on the conceptual planning for the project. A 24-hour interim pin up gave students the chance to present their ideas and have feedback; benefiting from the professionals, educators and all of the people trafficking in and out of the healthcare conference. 

Our digestion of the site occurred during this visit, as well as taking the time to tour the USDA and see the Food and Health exhibits currently in the American Museum. It was clear this was a design was as much about a monument to health, as it was about contextualizing it in museum setting while providing the opportunity to inform and reinvigorate the current and future food and health needs of the people.

"We framed a tribute to the past by moving towards the future..."

Past. Present. Future.

How much of this wellness outreach was building, and how much was public space? Past, present and future was the logic we used to break up the program and consequent spatial and use conditions. Our design parti wove together layers of permanence, program and movement to create the [PAST] static, museum component of the space, the [PRESENT] active flexible clinic function of the space, and finally the [FUTURE] outdoor and flexible program designed to provide opportunities for future use. 

 [FORM] We utilized the presence of the Monument axial to our site, and sacred axis of the mall as a way to orient our building and activity. The forms responded in three parts, coinciding with the [PAST,PRESENT,FUTURE] program, constantly framing the view of the monument. The building cut the site at a diagonal. The topography and natural vegetation informed the more fixed components to occur in relation to the while gradually freeing from the landscape as the users descend through the space.  By observing the natural foot traffic of individuals across our site, we were able to preserve and incorporate natural movement patterns. Materials and service banded logically along Independence Ave.

[PEOPLE] The diversity in DC is a unique cross section of people that largely represents the average cross section of America. Character profiles were created, and their movements were mapped across a matrix of time and space to understand how and when users would activate this building.The Space-Event relationships encouraged our place-making, and also to consider our site to extend and include the lot south of the African American Museum. [EVENT] These were illustrated with vignettes and renderings. 

Finally, We used a paper cutter in order to visualize the massing of the building in a conceptual 3D-Model. The project was presented to a guest jury at the AIA AAH Update Reception Sunday, November  15th and the boards are currently on display at the American Institute of Architects Headquarters. We were blessed with a wonderful group of students on the team, and It was an honor to represent Clemson in this amazing learning experience!


Model Shots

A 48-Hour Experience

Clemson Charette Team Members: Leah Bauch, Emily McGowan, Rachel Matthews, Asma Sanaee, Xiao (James) Zhao


A BIG thank you to everyone who contributed to the 27th Annual AIA AAH STERIS Student Desgin Charette, including:

Patrick Down & George Godfrey, Steris

Mike Goff, Vendome Group, LLC

Roger Call, Gabe Nagelkirk and Max Webber, Herman Miller

Terry Warford, American Reprographics Company

Doug Paul, Academy of Architecture for Health of the AIA

Julia Phillips and Harsha Gowda, SmithgroupJJR

Sara Shumbera, WHR Associates 

David Allison, Edzard Schultz, John Curry - Clemson Team Advisors


For more information on the Annual Healthcare Design Conference, please visit: Healthcare Design Conference Web Page