The annual competition established in 2006 encourages visionary ideas – projects that, through the novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics, and spatial organizations, challenge the way we understand vertical architecture and its relationship with the natural and built environments. This year, architecture design firms from around the world submitted 526 projects.
Healthcare Design Leader Michael Compton led the team that created RS&H’s first eVolo design project, H.U.E. (Healthier Urban Ecosystem), which focuses on building a holistic healthcare environment in Jacksonville, Fla. The RS&H team included Rodrigo Sepulveda, Philip Robbie, Christopher Rehwoldt, Samuel Severns, Noe Ramirez, Matt Tracy, Robert Riggio, Mario Lambert, Veronica Garcia Mejia, Frank Gratton, Daniel Oyieke and Joe VanHoose.
The following is a summary of RS&H’s design.
A Need for a Healthier Urban Ecosystem
Cities across the world are growing exponentially as younger generations opt to live in urban environments, leaving suburbia and rural areas behind. Facing these population booms, cities must meet the expectations of its new citizens, who expect and demand amenities for living a healthier life. But these expectations can be difficult for urban cores to meet.
Access to the natural environment, opportunities for outdoor exercise and even access to clean air and water can be scarce. Likewise, access to adequate, routine and preventative medical care is difficult for many areas of the world. When factoring in the scope and devastation natural disasters are creating, there are an increasing number of situations in which large populations experience widespread medical emergencies requiring a quick, mobile, adaptable response.
A Tower for more than Healthy Living
On the north side of Jacksonville, adjacent to Blount Island on the St. Johns River, H.U.E. creates and promotes a comprehensive, healthy living environment. The healthy transformation begins on the exterior of the facility, wrapped in a cast porcelain, ceramic skin. Drawing inspiration from naturally occurring island chains and reef structures as well as bone marrow inside the human body, the building’s porous skin is designed to interact with the prevailing winds and absorb air pollutants above the waterline and filter the water below. The north side of the tower connects to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, 46,000 protected acres of wetlands, waterways and greenspace.
The H.U.E. tower features residential units and incorporates many outdoor living spaces, including a large garden park on the upper floors. The base of the tower will offer a full spectrum of health and well-being accommodations, ranging from traditional Western doctor’s offices to natural medicine, physical training, exercise and studio facilities.
Ready for Rapid Response
The St. Johns River serves as the conduit for health dispersing from the tower facility to those in need across the globe. An armada of water-based healthcare vessels can deploy into the Atlantic Ocean – just 10 miles away – at a moment’s notice. A floating hospital equipped with emergency room and longer-term care facilities can respond to natural disasters and health crises seen recently in Puerto Rico and Haiti. If the tower is the picture of health, these ships will share that vision of health with the world.