Creating a home for interdisciplinary medical learning

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Health Sciences Learning Center

Madison, Wisconsin

As the University of Wisconsin-Madison began planning the building that would house learning environments for its medical, nursing and pharmacy schools, leadership knew that the building would offer an entirely different learning experience to its students. The Health Sciences Learning Center was designed to support an integrated, case-based and problem-based curriculum where students work in interdisciplinary teams to solve problems. Kahler Slater provided complete programming, planning and architectural services for the project.

New interdisciplinary environments for the School of Medicine and Public Health, the School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy as well as consolidation of multiple medical libraries into one facility were key program components. The library serves not only students but also patients and families who can use the resources there to become educated on a medical situation or disease. A key objective was to create a stronger physical connection between the UW Hospital and Clinics and health science learning by bringing together classrooms, offices and research spaces with clinical practice areas. The Health Sciences Learning Center features four “learning neighborhoods” (one neighborhood per class year), a physical space that serves as a class’ home, including lockers, lounge space and small collaboration spaces. Additionally, distance education learning environments and technology-rich flat and tiered classrooms encourage collaborative learning.

Kahler Slater served as the prime architect in association with Davis Brody Bond who supported programming and conceptual design.

“Kahler Slater’s knowledge of medical technology and processes was invaluable ... Kahler Slater brought to the table intelligence, experience, enthusiasm, an open mind, a sense of humor and, above all, a true passion for what they do.”

Susan Skochelak, MD, MPH, Former Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, UW-Madison Medical School