Case Study 2

Center for the Intrepid National Armed Forces Physical Rehabilitation Center

ARCHITECTS: Smith Group
LOCATION: Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas
SIZE: 65,000 gsf
COST: $ 50 million (financed entirely by private donations)
INDUSTRY: Government / Health

The most advanced facility of its type in the world, the Center provides state-of-the-art rehabilitation therapy for soldiers wounded in the ongoing war on terror combined with sophisticated research in prosthetics, robotics, virtual reality and biomechanics. Physical training areas include an indoor pool, elevated running track, climbing wall, uneven terrain and obstacle simulations. The facility also houses one-of-a-kind technology such as a 300-degree virtual reality immersion environment and an advanced gait analysis laboratory.

Clad with South Dakota granite, the design is intended to suggest a monument befitting the return of soldiers from combat.

The rehabilitation center focuses on burn victims and amputees, and specifically designed for the men and women who have served in military operations in the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. (Center for the Intrepid, SmithGroup)

The center's main departments include the military performance lab, occupational therapy, physical therapy, prosthetics, case management and behavioral medicine. Much of the technology found in the new center can't be found anywhere else in the world.

A Gait Lab is fitted with 24 cameras on an automated truss which use infrared light to analyze human motion. A computer assisted environment, called CAREN, is a 21-foot simulated dome with a 300-degree screen that immerses patients using sensors and high-speed infrared cameras and a moving platform that reacts to the patients' movements.

In the area of occupational therapy, the center focuses on restoring health and function following serious injury or illness. At the Center for the Intrepid, a fully furnished apartment has been created to give patients a real-world environment to practice everyday skills. (U.S. Air Force)

FACILITY FEATURES:
  • Treadwall
  • 21-foot climbing tower
  • Running/walking track
  • Natatorium with a six-lane pool
  • A Flowrider is similar to a wave machine that helps promote balance, strength, motivation and confidence.
LESSONS LEARNED:
  • Designing a facility that incorporates all levels and services of the prosthetic rehabilitation process (a one-stop-stop for surgery, therapy, and recovery) makes for a more effective, efficient, and consistent patient rehabilitation.
  • The number of high-tech (and expensive) amenities and treatment regimens allows for a diverse approach to an individual's rehabilitation based on their interests and goals for therapy. This increases patient satisfaction and creates a positive healing environment.

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