UC Davis Medical Center, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

With the nation’s largest grant for nursing education — $100 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation — a visionary nursing school was born. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at University of California, Davis creates skilled and nimble nurse leaders, agents of change in the evolving health care environment who know how to teach others, leverage interprofessional partnerships, and work outside traditional boundaries of nursing. Graduates care for their own patients and work with other medical professionals to deliver top-of-the-line health care as the profession shifts towards being performed at home as much as it is in the hospital.

A model of the hybrid buildings emerging to support new learn / work modalities, Betty Irene Moore Hall (“Moore Hall”) offers a variety of multi-media innovation environments that support collaborative, interdisciplinary, active, and social learning. Clinical skill and stimulation suites, an apartment simulation room, and adaptable group-work classrooms advance the School’s commitment to blending instruction with clinical practice. A continuous wood wall undulates throughout every floor, forming a connective tissue of circulation, social space, and educational infrastructure, what the School calls the “Learning Commons.” This backdrop of academic life brings the community together with a variety of differently scaled break-out areas to spend a moment alone, meet friends for a snack, or engage in a group project.

The Learning Commons’ wood wall is a deeply functional component of the overall building, operating in various ways to support a healthy and collaborative environment. Perforations in the wall’s surface absorb echoes to reduce noise and promote concentration. Bringing warmth and comfort to the center of the building, creases in the continuous warm-grained bamboo wall form 25 nooks and jetties, many equipped with interactive surfaces. To support interprofessional engagement, the observation rooms associated with the simulation suites are placed along the continuous wood wall and Learning Commons. The Learning Commons is an active wayfinding tool as visitors can following the signature wall to all the educational spaces and a monumental stair.

Located on the ground floor and envisioned as a reconfigurable canvas, the active learning classrooms offer flexible layouts to enable interactive, small-group learning. Housing 100 and 150 students each, the active learning classrooms are intended to scale depending on uses throughout the day and can be used for campus events. These heavily used spaces open up to the courtyard, which serves as a break-out learning space, enhancing the anywhere / anytime approach to learning by taking it outdoors.

Located adjacent to several academic and clinical buildings on the UC Davis Medical Center campus, Moore Hall draws back and helps define a burgeoning academic quad, Vanderhoef Commons. The site’s northern border is defined by a pedestrian thoroughfare that completes a cross-campus promenade padded with drought-resistant trees. The u-shaped arrangement envelops a central courtyard, extending Vanderhoef Commons into the building and emphasizing the importance of shared social spaces. The banded facade pairs white metal panels, commonplace through campus, with striated CMU to create a visual contrast between rough and smooth textures. The building’s north-facing glass façade serves as a beacon along one of Moore Hall’s main arrival points.

Nestled in the northern expanse of California’s Central Valley, the warm, dry climate informed design strategies to achieve LEED Gold certification. An innovative ventilation system reutilizes air from neighboring offices and classrooms to condition the active learning classrooms, reducing overall energy consumption. Champaign-colored vertical fins and a double-height cantilever help make the building comfortable. Further shading is provided by a distinctive arboreal trellis extending the Learning Commons and active learning classrooms into the courtyard.

Being part of a community, collaborating, actively learning—these are the experiences that create meaning in education, turning data and ideas into real, retained knowledge. A building cannot educate a person by itself, but it can go a long way in supporting the kind of education that stays with a person through experience and memory. Moore Hall does just that. As nurses continue to assume an ascendant role in healthcare provision, graduates of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing will be ready to answer their call to leadership.

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