Case study: Building-within-a-building design brings light to health education center

University of Kansas Health Education Building, Kawneer

"Lantern box" design creates a dramatic first impression at the University of Kansas' Health Education Building while flooding it with light. AIA partner Kawneer explores the project's features.

For its new Health Education Building (HEB), the University of Kansas sought out a modern structure that would reflect and showcase the wide range of high-tech learning environments within. The 171,000-square-foot healthcare education building’s studios, classrooms, medical simulation center, labs, and collaborative spaces are a testament to the university’s vision and commitment to forward-thinking teaching on the cutting-edge of medicine.

Like many modern buildings, the HEB relies on large expanses of glass, but with a twist: a building-within-a-building “lantern box” design that truly sets it apart and highlights the innovation within while creating a dramatic first impression and landmark gateway to University of Kansas campus.

“The soaring space between the transparent enclosure and the functional ‘box’ within is flooded with light, creating architectural design without compromising a sense of institutional purpose,” John Gaunt, former dean of KU’s School of Architecture, Design & Planning, told the project’s architect of record, Helix Architecture + Design.

Design Architect: CO Architects, Los Angeles

Architect of Record: Helix Architecture + Design, Kansas City, Mo.

Photography: Bill Timmerman

Click here to learn more about façade solutions for education projects, including the Kawneer 1600 Wall System1 curtain wall, 1600 Wall System2 curtain wall, 500 Wide Stile entrances, and 500 Heavy Wall Entrances, and to see additional case studies.  

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Image credits

University of Kansas Health Education Building, Kawneer

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