LAWRENCE – A rural health initiative developed by University of Kansas alumnus Tom Trenolone, director of HDRThe Great Plains studio in Omaha, Nebraska, in collaboration with the KU School of Architecture & Design, received a 2021 Regional and Urban Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The genesis of the project came after HDR was engaged by the health system board of the small farming town of Haxtun, Colorado, which was open to exploring creative solutions using environmental design as a means. not only improve the physical health of the inhabitants, but revitalize the economic and social conditions of the community.

In the spring of 2014, HDR approached the KU School of Architecture and Design’s Health + Wellness Design graduate program to explore ways in which the physical environment can be used to support and enhance rural communities in their research. better health care services.

Led by Trenolone, the project was launched in a Health + Wellness Design synthesis studio co-taught by architecture professors Paola Sanguinetti and Kent Spreckelmeyer.

The students began the project by studying 24 communities across the United States that have similar key characteristics to Haxtun. They determined that the local hospital and K-12 education system were among the most crucial indicators of the health of rural communities.

Based on this analysis, the team set out to improve and consolidate healthcare facilities, focusing on how clinics and classrooms, emergency rooms and gymnasiums, or cafeterias and birthing centers could become essential points of community life.

The final product combines three distinct design solutions that each tackle a specific problem. First, a concept called “Master Hub” brought together essential community resources – health care and schools – positioning them in the historic center of the city. Second, a long-term planning strategy called “Small Town Synergy” positioned the improvement of hospital and school facilities as mutually beneficial and interdependent processes. Finally, a building process called “modular duality” called for the construction of buildings to use environmental technologies that are uniquely suited to the rural community.

The full research report and project details were published in 2020 as Rural Resolve: Imagining the Future Health and Wellbeing of Small Communities (Tom Trenolone, editor).

The full list of project team members:

Kent Spreckelmeyer, Paola Sanguinetti, Faria Islam

Tom Trenolone, Matthew Goldsberry, Matthew Stoffel, Ian Thomas.

KU graduate students

Lauren Amos, John Barnthouse, Chelsea Campbell, Cole Giesler, Chinonso Ike, Rachel Keeven, Kathy Kim, Hannah Kramer, Ashley Lawrence, Chang Liu, Nicole Mater, Sarah Moser, Lizzy Nikoonamesh, Phillip Perkins, Eman Siddiqui, Mahzad Talaei, William Weiner and Dana Wellman.