WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Tags: Architecture, Education, Engineering

In 2011, Western Michigan University, Bronson Hospital and Borgess Health came together to form the privately held WMU Homer Stryker MD Medical School.  Focused on advancing the art and science of medical education, the new facility includes team-based, problem-based and simulation-based learning environments aligned with an innovative organ-centered curriculum. Reflecting its Stryker namesake, one of the goals of the School is to become a leader in research of medical instrumentation. The simulation center, gross anatomy facilities, research labs and vivarium were designed to support that mission and be instrumental in attracting the brightest students and faculty.  After searching for the perfect project site, which included urban and rural locations, it was decided to move into an existing 317,000 square foot, 8-story research facility in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.  The decision to locate the new school of medicine in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo created a symbiotic connection with the downtown community, enhancing and further stimulating the revitalization of the business district.

The challenge was to take a tall 317,000 square foot facility designed to isolate itself and break down the barriers, re-connecting it to the surrounding downtown pedestrian landscape.  Even the street address and arrival points have been carefully considered to highlight the City’s attributes.  The goal was to provide a welcoming building, encouraging pedestrian interaction with the surrounding downtown amenities and promote economic growth in the Kalamazoo community.  The new facility includes a 26,000-SF regional Simulation Center serving the needs of the professional community and partnering hospitals as well as the School of Medicine.  The building also incorporates features to enhance community, connecting the larger program space to a smaller student population; examples include an open media center that encourages the sharing of information, the transparent auditorium space providing observation from above, and the café and comfortable intimate collaboration space throughout the facility.  The spaces all contribute to the hub of collaboration socially and intellectually.

There are many features that all work together to give the current facility human scale, creating an interactive connection to surrounding buildings and pedestrian level experience.  The new facility has minimized the impact on the city and given new life to a vacated building.  The new 33,000 square foot 2-story addition and deconstruction of the first three levels has given the building human scale and introduced natural light deep into the core of the building.  The new circulation core gives staff and students a sense of place, easily orienting themselves to their surroundings.  Sustainability was foremost in the design of this facility, from the urban site, energy efficiency, use of daylight, use of reclaimed materials, support of mass transit and pedestrian transportation.  Currently the project team is in the process of pursuing LEED Silver certification for this project.

August of 2014, Western Michigan University opened the doors of Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine to students.

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