Higher Education
University of Houston, Tillman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine

University of Houston

Tillman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine

the story

SLAM designed, in association with our partner architect Page, this three-story, 130,000 square foot new College of Medicine building for a start up medical school at the University of Houston. The facility, built by Vaughn Construction, boasts state of the art learning environments including classrooms, immersive learning spaces, faculty and staff offices, as well as student study and social lounges. Notable features of the building and the design process include: sustainability and reclaimed wood as featured in the live edge board room table, a first of its kind “Sky Box Team-Based Learning Lecture Hall”, continuum of care simulation, and a custom art piece to add to the ‘user experience’ in the welcoming two-story lobby.

[logo] at-a-glance

New Building
Interior Design
Lab/Sim Planning
Programming & Planning
Houston, TX
Completed 2022
130,000 SF

University of Houston leadership first began planning for a new medical school in 2014, with with a key focus on community involvement and serving the underserved in the Houston area.


SLAM led the University of Houston College of Medicine leadership through a robust visioning and programming process beginning in May 2019 to align the design and construction of the new College of Medicine building with the ambitious goals the institution had established.

Five guiding principals drove decision-making throughout the course of the project to prioritize 1) community engagement, 2) inter-professional and trans-disciplinary education, 3) collaborative and innovative teaching and working spaces, 4) whole-person wellness, and 5) meaningful campus connections.

community engagement
The building lobby, referred to as “the heart” of the building, brings students, faculty, staff and visitors together. Community-facing institutes and clinical research offices were accounted for and located right off the main lobby.

inter-professional + trans-disciplinary education
The simulation center includes 4 hospital sim rooms and 12 standardized patient exam rooms and can support Inter-Professional Education (IPE) scenarios.

collaborative + innovative learning
A ‘sky-box’ style TBL lecture hall is the first of its kind with group rooms overlooking it, providing overflow seating.

collaborative + innovative learning
The flexible active learning meeting hall on the first floor enables students working in groups to tie into technology at each table. The space can also be used for guest speaker events, banquets, poster sessions, and lectures.

whole-person wellness
A “wellness studio” was included, providing a space for students to host community initiatives including art or music therapy, nutrition seminars, yoga, and more.

meaningful campus connections
Two nature-focused student lounge spaces were included to provide students places to reflect, meditate, and gather their thoughts. Within these lounges are two reclaimed live-edge wood benches that were made of trees from the building’s site.


Designing, building and programming a new medical education building is a huge undertaking. We did this in the midst of building our program and welcoming our inaugural class of medical students. SLAM made all the difference! Their ability to guide us through the process with knowledge of trends, benchmarks and lessons learned from other institutions made our process much easier.

PauleAnne Lewis
Associate Vice President of Business Operations, Tilman J Fertitta Family College of Medicine at University of Houston

Project Contacts

Karen Parzych AIA
Programmer / Planner

860 368.4144

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