- Design Team:Yen Ong, Paul Merrill, Josh Allen, Danielle Cross, Christine Robbins
- Interior Design Team:Yen Ong, Danielle Cross, Paul Merrill, Josh Allen
- Client:Legacy ER
- Awards:2014 National AIA/AAH (American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Health) Healthcare Design Awards, 2014 Metal Architecture Design Awards - Metal Roofing category, 2013 American Institute of Architects-Dallas Chapter - Unbuilt Design Awards
- Country:United States
Text description provided by the architects. Legacy ER operates a hybrid program offering urgent care and 24/7 state-licensed emergency medical care services within a freestanding 8,432 SF building. Conceptualized as a potent reflection of the organization’s identity, the architecture sought to capture in aesthetic terms the duality of the emergency medical professionals' character, projecting outwardly the knowledge, skill, precision, and decisiveness necessary for the competent practice of emergency medicine and expressing inwardly the gentle, empathic, and humanistic qualities of the persons beneath the robe.
Situated among open fields and nondescript suburban development, the project administered an episodic architectural intervention to agitate the chronically lethargic context beyond its lot line. Beginning with a landscape design strategy that reconciled nature and man-made settings, drought-tolerant vegetation species such as the cedar elm trees, pink muhly grass, weeping love-grass, and buffalo-grass were selected and subtle grading of land were composed to evoke memories of natural landscape forms. The soft- and hard-scape elements seamlessly dissolved their boundaries along the public domain.
The building profile extrapolated the conventional residential roof planes and was given a new tectonic grammar to drive its programmatic transformation around the building. Gradient perforated panels were mapped onto the exterior surfaces to allow for diffusive building lighting and passive solar shading. Zinc, being the most sustainably-sourced metals for construction, was selected for its inherent greyish-blue warmth and resiliency during extreme Texas weather events. The zinc panels were patterned to maintain continuous readings of the vertical standing seams with knife-edged thickness along their planar perimeter.
Relating in contrast, the interior spaces blur their edges and receive natural and artificial light softly. The points of admission of natural daylight and outdoor views create apertures that penetrate through the building envelope and interior planes and elucidate those intersecting tectonic moments. The atmospheric quality of the interior continually morphed in response to the natural climatic conditions and poetically linked the users to nature. The detailing of the interior skylights read as frameless apertures puncturing through the exterior membrane. At the material level, the mirror aggregates in the polished concrete floor mix and the frosted glass panes reflected the outdoor light colors and set a pleasantly calming ambiance.
The building integrated the principles of Evidence-Based Design within its spatial, circulatory, and sensory structure while being careful not to create a facility that could be perceived as overly methodical. Multiple skylights were situated at strategic intersections of the circulation to form a sensible system of way-finding. The components of workspaces were designed for peer collaboration, patient accessibility, and data privacy, while the patient care areas were crafted for hospitality and treatment efficacy to reduce errors in the administration of medicine. The off-stage environment of the medical staff was as well accounted for; the staff lounge and office areas were connected through a daylight-filled double-height space and were provided access to a balcony tucked under the zinc roof.
From outside in, the project sought to propose an architectural possibility for an emerging delivery model that fulfilled the functional program, as a baseline, and elevated the experience of seeking medical care within a contextually influential structure.