University of Saint Joseph – Lourdes Hall

West Hartford, Connecticut

The University of Saint Joseph’s new Physician’s Assistant graduate degree program is expected to attract more than 100 students, filling an important need. An addition and renovation to Lourdes Hall—a converted three-story convent—is transformative with the right programming prescription. The addition is traditional in form and materials, with the use of red brick and a pitched roof, fitting seamlessly with surrounding context. Yet contemporary detailing sets it apart. Drawing on religious symbolism from other campus buildings, designers interpreted the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) through the use of three windows on either side of the building. These windows also provide a view to the campus beyond. The traditional crown window is simplified, and where other buildings use arched windows or doorways, Lourdes Hall uses the arch as a connection, or throughway, to a private courtyard. The nicely scaled interior courtyard is accomplished by stepping the structure back, rather than crowding the addition against the original building. The courtyard is meant to be a restorative and private space for future healers, who spend all day on campus. The courtyard space also provided an opportunity for a more contemporary architectural vocabulary. Inside, classrooms and examination rooms with the latest technology insure these Physician Assistant graduates will be ready to contribute to our healthcare system.

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