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2015 AIA COTE Top 10: San Antonio Military Medical Center

RTKL Associates

Shared By

dmadsen, hanley wood, llc

Project Name

2015 AIA COTE Top 10: San Antonio Military Medical Center

Project Status



760,000 sq. feet

Construction Cost



Brooke Army Medical Center

Certifications and Designations

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Project Description

2013 National Healthcare Design Awards
Category B: Build, More than $25 million in construction cost


The LEED-Silver (pending) hospital houses a world-class burn treatment unit. Trellis canopies and terra-cotta screening protect burn patients from direct sun exposure while mitigating heat gain but allowing views of the landscape. Drought-resistant native plantings, a marsh-like retention pond, and planned bioswales and healing garden manage 100% rainwater on site. Interstitial mechanical spaces accommodate future changes without disrupting patient care or requiring costly, wasteful renovation. Patient surveys show 90% satisfaction. 


This Veterans Affairs project exhibits a strong sensibility to sustainable practice throughout its high-intensity program, comprised of in-patient beds, a national burn center and a surgical research center. The site location is dictated by the presence of a current medical complex in central Texas, which complicates attaining the energy savings that are already difficult to achieve in a major hospital. The architecture, while sympathetic to the existing complex, expands the vocabulary to be inclusive of various shading devices that promote energy savings goals while still allowing for views from and into the hospital. Natural lighting is accepted as a part of the healing process, which is important for occupants of this type of facility. The site planning and landscape complement each other as additional aspects of a healing environment. San Antonio is one of the most challenging climates in the United States for cooling and dehumidification, but this project thoughtfully and efficiently conditions the spaces for optimal comfort.


  • Estimated % of occupants using public transit/cycling/walking: 25%
  • Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off before nightfall: 13%
  • Lighting power density (watts per square-foot): 1.23 watts/sf
  • Outdoor views: 32%
  • Reduction of regulated potable water: 20% 
  • Total EUI (kBtu per square-foot per year): 161
  • Net EUI (kBtu per square-foot per year): 161
  • Percent Reduction from National Median EUI for Building Type: 23%

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