University of Florida Harrell Medical Education Center

The new Harrell Medical Education building is a 94,300 SF, LEED Gold certified facility that houses teaching environments for medical education and the physician assistant program. The facility includes an Experiential Learning Center with a simulation theater designed to adapt to future changes in medicine. Learning studios were incorporated into the design as well as personal learning spaces. The building also utilizes advanced technology such as video capture and recording systems that allow for broad communication of clinical and experiential learning. Additionally, the design brings together a broad variety of program spaces to promote interaction between students and faculty.

The design team focused on developing a plan that would meet the academic needs of the program first and then site-adapt the solution. In this process, the physical needs of the program take precedent over the exterior design of the building. A cost model was developed to manage costs and a functional budget established for the building exterior, allowing for savings to be applied to the education programs, including upgrades in equipment and classroom facilities to create a state-of-the-art education interior.

Every program element in the building was developed with a strong relationship to the social path that encourages an open exchange of ideas and makes interaction between students, faculty, and administration inevitable. The building includes simulation space where students and trainees—working in reconfigurable rooms—can train and practice clinical, diagnostic, or treatment procedures that might be encountered in a medical facility. The learning studio is comprised of two large flexible-use classrooms that can be modified for lecture and group learning, all with access to cutting-edge audio-visual support systems.

The building's sustainable characteristics include a chilled beam system to reduce energy costs as well as passive design approaches, use of punched windows, masonry exterior and sun shades to reduce solar heat gain and overall energy usage requirements.

Key components of this project include:

  • Experimental Learning Center
  • Learning Studios
  • Personal Learning Spaces
  • Advanced Technology
  • High Interaction Planning




Gainesville, FL


94,300 SF


AIA Orlando Design Award – Built Award of Honor | City of Gainesville City Beautification “Outstanding Institution” Award | LEED Gold Certification