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Healing Touch

Mike Gonzales earns national recognition

Mike Gonzales

Imagine a place designed to comfort patients facing terminal illnesses, an oasis where they can savor time spent with family and friends.

That was the assignment facing Dallas architect Mike Gonzales ’92 and the team at PRDG. The firm was charged with designing the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center, the first campus of its kind in the nation and Dallas’ first free-standing hospice.

“It’s really an awesome project for the community,” Gonzales says of the center, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

Owned and operated by Presbyterian Communities and Services, the campus will include an inpatient care center, an all-faiths chapel, an education and resource center, and an outdoor reflection center. Gonzales is project architect, which he says means “making sure the buildings come out working.”

Earlier this year, the project received an Award of Merit at the 2015 Environments for Aging Conference in Baltimore. In July the American Institute of Architects’ Design for Aging Review, 13th Edition recognized the center with a merit award.

Gonzalez looks back fondly on his years at UTA and the close-knit community he found in the architecture program.

“When I was in the studio, working late and on weekends, it was like we were all there working together. It created a sense of team.”

His favorite projects have been schools and senior living facilities, including an addition to The Vantage in CityView, a Fort Worth assisted living center.

“It’s an accomplishment to have a building being used and to see people living their lives in it,” he says. “That’s one of the main reasons that after 20 years I’m still excited to get up in the morning and go to work.”