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Frank Zilm FAIA, FACHA, will serve as director of the Institute of Health and Wellness Design, which launched last week.

Photo courtesy of University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning

The University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design & Planning launched the Institute of Health and Wellness Design July 1, with longtime health facility designer Frank Zilm, FAIA, FACHA, serving as Chester Dean Director of the institute.   

“The new institute is going to tap into the work of key faculty within the school and other programs at KU to help promote effective health care environments, healthy communities,” Zilm says.

The new research-focused organization will draw on the design school’s well-established relationships with health care architectural firms to support the institute’s initiative, Zilm says.

The architecture school has had a program for the past eight years that has placed interns in seven-month appointments with design firms throughout the U.S., he says. Those relationships can serve as a mutual benefit going forward as the institute conducts its research. 

“We will be able to help designers create facilities guidelines and policies that use evidence- and experience-based research and practice. Our school is one of the leaders in graduate education, and we see this as a logical extension of that success,” he says.  

A major goal of the institute will be to create executive training and educational opportunities for professional design firms and newer health care architects throughout the country. 

“The institute will allow a major expansion of KU’s ability to provide research, consultation and outreach to health care providers and design professionals,” says Mahesh Daas, dean of the School of Architecture, Design & Planning.

Zilm brings a unique combination of teaching and practice in the field to the institute. Since 1984, he has been president of his own health care design consultancy, Frank Zilm and Associates Inc., Kansas City, Mo.

The firm specializes in health facility master planning, operations analysis and design concepts. He has led more than 300 such projects, including most recently for SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and Stanford (Calif.) University Hospital.

He has served as president of the American Institute of Architect’s Academy of Architecture for Health and was recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American College of Healthcare Architects. He is a fellow of that organization and the American Institute of Architects. 

Over the past eight years the KU department of architecture has established itself as one of the nation’s leaders in preparing students to specialize in health care architecture design through its health and wellness curriculum option. 

Graduate students who choose the option in their final year of the master of architecture degree program can concentrate in this area by taking a combination of seminars, design studios and an internship in one of the nation’s top health care architectural design firms. 

Collaboration among faculty in industrial design and other architectural design studios already has provided research and support to outreach initiatives throughout Kansas.

Professor of Architecture Kent Spreckelmeyer, FAIA, will serve as associate director of the Institute, while continuing to direct the School of Architecture, Design & Planning’s health and wellness program, and serving as its internship liaison.