Architecture lecturer named HeathCare Design Magazine Educator of the Year

Thu, 01/24/2013

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Charles Linn
School of Architecture, Design & Planning
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LAWRENCE — HealthCare Design magazine has named Frank Zilm, the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning's Chester Dean Lecturer, as its Heathcare Design Educator of the Year.

Zilm received the honor earlier this month as a member of the HDC 10, a list that honors individuals who work in different sectors of the heath care design field. The editors of the magazine chose the group based on nominations they received last fall.Frank Zilm

"It takes a full team of people— from researchers and educators to architects and construction experts—to move forward the creation of health care facilities that make a genuine difference in the lives of their patients and staff," says Kristin Zeit, editor-in-chief of Healthcare Design.

"We wanted to recognize and celebrate individuals in a variety of positions for their contributions to the bigger picture of health care design," she said. 


Zilm graduated with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from KU in 1971. After receiving his doctorate in architecture from the University of Michigan in 1975, he served as the KU Medical Center’s director of facilities planning in the late 1970s.

He served as the director of the school’s graduate program in management from 1986 to 1991. Between 1991 and 2006 he was an adjunct professor and became the Department of Architecture’s Chester Dean Lecturer in 2008. 

Four years ago Zilm and Kent Spreckelmeyer, professor of architecture, established the Architecture Department’s Health and Wellness Program. It specializes in health care design and planning. A key element of the curriculum is a seven-month internship in a health care architecture firm. Sixty-five architecture students have worked in 35 firms since the program began.

“Our program is based on a strong integration of academia and the practice community.  We have a core of over 20 architects and planners across the country that contribute time, knowledge and support to our students,” said Zilm.    

Under his direction, two teams of Health and Wellness Program students were finalists in the 2012 Nurture Collegiate Healthcare Design Competition, co-sponsored by Healthcare Design magazine and Steelcase Inc.

Since 1984 Zilm has also been president of his own health care design consultancy, Frank Zilm & Associates. The Kansas City, Mo., firm specializes in facility master planning, operations analysis and design concepts. He has led well over 200 projects, most recently for Stanford Hospital & Clinics in Palo Alto and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond.

Zilm recently completed writing and editing a book on health care planning and design that will be used by future classes. This spring he will also be co-directing a continuing education course on emergency department planning and design being offered jointly by the Harvard College of Medicine and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

“I feel very fortunate to be doing something I love,” said Zilm. “Over the last four years KU’s Department of Architecture’s Health and Wellness program has established itself as an innovative graduate program. Specialty architectural education is still a controversial issue at many schools.  The willingness of KU to encourage this initiative has been a key to our success.”



April showers bring…snow? Chris Bernosky, freshman in the University of Kansas School of Engineering, was studying in the sixth floor lobby of Oliver when he saw this storm coming in over campus. “I thought it was cool how the sun is still visible even though the dark clouds are rolling in.” Rain or shine, how will you #exploreKU this spring?

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