Military Medical Center given renovation and extension to transform campus
A major addition and renovation to Brooke Army Medical Center is currently underway, transforming the campus to San Antonio Military Medical Center. The project will almost double the size of the facility, adding a rehabilitation clinic, expanded operating room capabilities, a new emergency department, and a new patient bed tower.
Overall, the new addition and the existing facility are compatible yet distinguishable, each identifiable with its own time and cultural, technical, and architectural values. The addition complements the existing hospital but does not fully replicate its uniform brick envelope. Instead, it transitions from a monolithic brick façade to a thin transparent membrane. On the west, terra cotta rods control the amount of light and heat that reach the building while acting as a material connection between the old and the new. The amount of terra cotta rods diminishes as you move around the building until you reach the north façade where an unobstructed glass curtain wall takes advantage of light and allows more freedom in placing interior partitions. On the south, a monumental trellis (the 'sunbria') shades five stories and creates an icon visible to motorists traveling the nearby Interstate highway.
A large courtyard between the existing building and the new structure creates a pleasant distraction and a connection with nature. It provides a pleasant view from much of the building and a wayfinding reference as well. A healing garden and a landscaped pond fed by recycled water from the new central energy plant are other elements that maximise the hospital’s healing environment. The man-made pond also serves as a sustainable element that allows water from the energy plant to slowly return to the water table rather than overload the city sewer system.