School of Medicine

Occupational therapy clinic breaks ground in Delmar Maker District

SMOOTH House, a 2,100-square-foot space supporting research and clinical services for WashU’s Occupational Therapy program, will break ground Nov. 11 in the Delmar Maker District. The carbon-neutral structure, designed by students from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, also will compete in the 2023 Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. (Rendering: Team WashU)

Can better design improve patient outcomes? Can energy-efficient architecture contribute to public health?

Over the past year, a team of architects, medical professionals and engineers, including students, from Washington University in St. Louis and Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) have explored these questions and more through a series of interdisciplinary design studios and seminars.

Now that research is bearing fruit. On Friday, Nov. 11, a new Smart Home for Occupational Therapy Healing — aka SMOOTH House — will break ground in St. Louis’ burgeoning Delmar Maker District.

“This is a wonderful project as well as an important learning opportunity,” said Hongxi Yin, the InCEES associate professor in advanced building systems and architectural design, who is leading the project with Lisa Tabor Connor, PhD, associate dean and a professor of occupational therapy at the university’s School of Medicine.

“SMOOTH House will be a shared space for innovative research, clinical services and education in public health,” continued Yin, who has appointments in both the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and InCEES, the International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability.

“This will be a carbon neutral, net-zero building that can monitor the effectiveness of both passive strategies and smart building technologies,” Yin added. “We are very proud to bring SMOOTH House to the St. Louis community.”

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