Oakland University Human Health Building

Oakland University Human Health Building
Oakland University Human Health Building
Oakland University Human Health Building

There are times that a building should embody the very function it intends to serve. The Human Health Building is an example of one of these instances. Intended to unite its disparate medical departments and teach students about health and medicine, its building appropriately supports the health of its inhabitants through its LEED Platinum designation earned by a variety of sustainable features.



Oakland University


Rochester, Michigan


Architecture, Civil Engineering, Higher Education, Health Sciences, Interiors, Lab Planning, Landscape Architecture, Lighting Design, Programming

Oakland University’s reputable medical program attracts students looking to attain a career in medicine. Its buildings were scattered, and students siloed, preventing interaction with intra-departmental peers.

The university set forth a plan to construct a new Human Health Building that would combine two of its most populous medical programs — the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences — to kick off its new vision for a campus health quadrant to be constructed on the northwest end of campus.

Human Health Building SmithGroup

Through our design an integrated facility was created devoted to human health that promotes and embodies wellness. A public clinic, simulation labs, clinical and physical therapy labs, and distance learning, all part of the facility’s design to provide innovative learning opportunities. Our design also included terraces, plazas and lawn areas to give students and faculty the opportunity to learn, teach and collaborate outside of the standard classroom setting.

Our team implemented a host of sustainable design features that transform the facility from a building, into a living and breathing extension of the landscape. This included wetland restoration, stormwater management, natural materials, innovative solar energy systems, and the preservation of a landmark oak tree that has been on site for over a century. The facility was also designed to incorporate state-of-the-art energy systems such as heat recovery, photovoltaic panels and a desiccant humidification system. Because of these features it became Michigan's first LEED Platinum certified higher education facility.

The Human Health Building enables the university to unite its medical 
departments, grow its renowned program, and provide a facility that doesn’t just teach health, but enhances it.