Signe Skott Cooper Hall, a $53 million state-of-the-art nursing education and research facility, creates an informal quadrangle with Rennebohm Hall School of Pharmacy that anchors the health care-centered West Campus and creates a gateway to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.
The site features gracefully arcing paths, seat walls, and gardens that enclose the more intimate outdoor gathering spaces. Orthogonal paver bands, punctuated by custom-designed benches, extend out from the building to integrate the architecture with the site. The plantings are dominated by a complex and decorative mix of native and non-native perennials that evoke the natural landscape of the nearby Lakeshore Nature Preserve. Additional features of the site include a stone-clad council ring with gas fireplace, a medicinal garden for the School of Pharmacy, and a usable green roof.
The 6,990 square foot accessible rooftop terrace is on the third floor and provides additional respite space for staff and students. The design and material selection echoed the flowing forms of the site while complementing the building’s exterior and extending the open, collaborative environment of the interior. The green roof features two seating areas paved with ipe decking, a meandering path of decorative concrete pavers, raised planting beds, areas with diverse sedum plantings and low-level landscape lighting. Throughout the building, site and rooftop terrace, reclaimed artifacts from the original nurses’ dormitory serve as touchstones and tell the story of nursing education on campus.