Patterson Ob/Gyn / buildingstudio

© Timothy Hursley

Architects: buildingstudio
Location: Appling Road, Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Design Team: Coleman Coker, Jonathan Tate, David Dieckhoff, Christopher Schmidt, Carl Batton Kennon
Interior Designer: Emily Summers Associates, Interior Design
General Contractor: Patton & Taylor Enterprises
Landscape: The Landscape Studio, Meridian, MS
Project Area: 3,200 sq ft
Budget: US $630,000
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Timothy Hursley

The site fronts on a new feeder road connected to a nearby expressway. It sits between two other professional buildings of matching colonial facades complete with artificial dormers and mass- produced Georgian columns.

While the first inclination was to make an expressive contemporary insertion, upon reflection this approach would have competed as just another “sign” like the traditional works, just another façade treatment facing the street.

© Timothy Hursley

The alternative was to make a non-building as seen from the street. To help achieve this, the scheme developed with heavy planting, making a kind of pocket park between the book-matched buildings. The building’s “disappearance” is accomplished by pushing its street side down into the earth. Further enhancing this, a jasmine-covered berm that sits against the eastern edge of the building. This berm continues up the low-sloping roof, turning into a garden roof planted out with sedum.

A small water-garden flanks the front entrance and is visible while sitting in the main waiting room. This space was designed as a glass pavilion for views out to the surrounding landscape and a retention pond for storm water runoff from the parking area; marsh grasses surround this catch basin.

floor plan

All spaces in the building rely on natural light from its clerestory windows above the seven-foot datum. These clerestories occur at the building’s perimeter and as well along each side of the interior corridor. Helped by the building’s narrowness—thirty-two feet—the clerestories fill the interior with sunlight and provide transparency to the project while allowing views to the sky from every room.

© Timothy Hursley

Five exam rooms line the hallway spine of the building. They open to a walled garden by full width glass on the exterior wall (eighteen inches above the floor, and again seven feet as part of the clerestory system).

The south and west clerestories have wide overhangs and a system of aluminum perforated planks above the seven foot datum that are sunscreens to reduce solar gain.

© Timothy Hursley

Another water pool in the courtyard is visible from the secondary waiting room adjacent to two doctor’s offices at the building’s east end. All HVAC ducting is below slab for energy efficiency while helping keep the roof structure as thin and light as possible.

Bamboo plank flooring is laid in the public spaces and a composite floor with recycled material covers the exam room floors. Green glass tile and white ceramic tile are laid on the floors and walls of the restrooms. Other walls and ceilings are gypsum board painted white.

Products in this project

Bathroom Equipment: Dornbracht, American Standard

  • Plumbing by Dornbracht
  • Plumbing by American Standard

Floor: Smith & Fong Plyboo, Dal Tile

  • Wood Floors: Oregon Lumber Bamboo by Smith & Fong Plyboo
  • Floor Tile by Dal Tile

Furniture: Knoll, Herman Miller

  • Chairs by Knoll
  • Office furniture by Knoll
  • Chairs by Herman Miller
  • Office furniture by Herman Miller

Joinery: Kawneer North America, Stanley, Hager , VT Industries, LCN, Schlage

  • Doors: Entrances by Kawneer North America
  • Window: Aluminium by Kawneer North America
  • Hardware: Pulls by Stanley
  • Hardware: Hindges by Hager
  • Metal/glass Curtainwall by Kawneer North America
  • Doors: Wood Doors by VT Industries
  • Hardware: Closers by LCN
  • Hardware: Locksets by Schlage

Lighting, Heating, Home/building automation: Progress Lightning, General Electrics

  • Lightning: Exterior by Progress Lightning
  • Lighning: Controls by General Electrics
  • Lightning: Downlights by Progress Lightning

Mobile Partitions/Suspended Ceilings/Raised Floors: PPG

  • Glazing: Glass by PPG

Roof: Johns Manville Inc., Hydrotech Garden Roofs, Inc.

  • Built-up roofing by Johns Manville Inc.
  • Garden Roof by Hydrotech Garden Roofs, Inc.

Walls: Dal Tile , Endicott Clay Products, Formica, Sherwin Williams, MBCI

  • Wall Tile by Dal Tile
  • Masonry: veneer by Endicott Clay Products
  • Plastic laminate by Formica
  • Paints and stains by Sherwin Williams
  • Metal Siding by MBCI

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Patterson Ob/Gyn / buildingstudio" 06 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • simondroog

    I like the way the building seems to almost hide from sight – good prospect and refuge possibilities!

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  • Navilla Brick veneer

    It looks beautiful!

  • Chiaro Scuro

    Well played

  • Anam Hamzeh