Texas Health Frisco
Frisco, Texas     
Best Project, Health Care
Project of The Year Finalist

Owner: Texas Health, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Lead Design Firm: HKS Inc.
General Contractor: Austin Commercial
Civil Engineer: RLG Consulting Engineers
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP Engineer: WSP

Texas Health’s eight-story hospital, four-story medical office building and four-story parking garage in Frisco rest upon a 20-acre greenfield site along the Dallas North Tollway.

Among the 132-bed hospital’s features are a 24/7 emergency room, diagnostic imaging department, surgical services, women’s services and a neonatal intensive care unit. The medical office building will house primary care practices and a multispecialty clinic. Combined, the broad range of clinical specialties in one location brings comprehensive health care to northeast Collin County.

The project team, led by HKS and Austin Commercial, was tasked with achieving a finite budget on both the medical building and hospital, treated as two different projects being built concurrently for two separate clients: Texas Health and UT Southwestern Medical Center. Each project also had specific schedule milestones to meet in order to achieve targeted and specific opening dates.

Texas Health brought HKS and Austin Commercial on to the project early in conceptual and site massing stages of the development to receive guidance on what could be designed and built for two finite budgets. Meetings were held regularly with ownership, HKS and Austin Commercial in an IPD approach where ideas and concepts aided in the advancement of the design and created an environment of trust among the entire project team.

“Working together in an environment of trust and mutual respect, we were able to achieve a memorable design solution that met everyone’s needs.”

– David Graham, Senior Vice President, Austin Commercial

To achieve the owner’s goal of having a natural look and feel for the campus, natural materials were utilized throughout the hospital, medical office building and exterior spaces to promote a feeling of wellness and healing through an environmental connection with nature.

Large glulam columns were chosen for their distinctive appearance and durability and give the hospital its signature look. The largest of the exterior glulams weighed more than 12,000 lb and was the largest ever created by the supplier. Four semi-trucks were needed to transport the columns and, once on site, they were installed in a carefully coordinated team effort.

“From the beginning of the project, our goal was to elevate the user experience from a traditional health care facility to a transformational ‘health facilitator,’” explains Craig J. Kolstad, principal and design director at HKS. “Our team envisioned and designed a biophilic environment that engages all of the senses to reduce stress levels, improve focus and concentration and enhance the performance and experience of caregivers, visitors and patients through an integrated health and well-being model of measurable outcomes. We believe our designs, and the environments they are within, can help aid the healing process through beauty and delight.”

In addition, the predominant exterior element of the buildings was architectural precast. There were 10 different variations of precast that were designed to mimic the natural appearance of rock and stone. The precast was designed with a layer of insulation that would take away the need for traditional exterior wall insulation and reduce the overall heating and cooling costs of the building.

“One of the challenges of the project was creating the architectural precast concrete with the design team,” says David Graham, senior vice president with Austin Commercial. “From our early conversations with the owner and architects, we knew that the exterior skin of the building was going to be architectural precast concrete and glazing, and not just any precast panel—this endeavor would include many finishes, colors and patterns.”

For this reason, the team decided to bring a precast subcontractor on early to help iron out details on how to achieve the desired results while remaining cost effective, Graham says.

“Working together in an environment of trust and mutual respect, we were able to achieve a memorable design solution that met everyone’s needs,” Graham adds.

In addition to architectural precast, the exteriors feature a curtain wall glazing system along with strip windows with an integrated aluminum siding designed to look like wood and stone.

Thanks to the team-oriented approach that began during preconstruction, the project was finished under budget and ahead of schedule.

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