U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


VA San Antonio Polytrauma Center

“More of our wounded are surviving, and more of them are permanently disabled by devastating injuries. They had the will to survive. We owe them the rest of the journey home. ”

—Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs


The Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, the newest and one of only five in the VA system, provides comprehensive interdisciplinary treatment in a healing and family-oriented environment. The multiple methods of treatment include cognitive, emotional, and physical rehabilitation for patients who have sustained multiple injuries and disabilities during military service. The three-story center includes care and diagnosis in imaging assessment, traumatic brain injury, amputation, visual and hearing impairment, spinal cord injury wounds and psychological trauma.

Employing Planetree principles designed to reflect healing, balance, and its critical mission of rehabilitation through the built form, the center features supportive areas for patients and families, ample natural light, and a variety of large and small spaces. Natural and indoor lighting promotes well-being and reduces disorienting glare. A natural, calm finish palette conveys a feeling of stability and refuge.

An existing courtyard has been redesigned to create a therapeutic setting featuring a terrain park and an outdoor gathering area. The building materials include local limestone and brick from the existing hospital to help the addition blend into its site. Native plants provide a sustainable and local connection with the outdoors.

Related Content

Building a Great Team
BD+C awards the VA San Antonio Polytrauma project team the gold for the successful completion of the VA’s first “Integrated Design and Construct” project.