Palo Alto, California


Just off to the side of the palm tree–lined main entry to Stanford University’s stunning campus in Palo Alto, California, sits the compact Hoover Medical Campus. Its handful of buildings is well known to TEF Design. The San Francisco–based firm was first hired to renovate the nearly 100-year-old Hoover Pavilion. That Art Deco pile—the original Palo Alto hospital that now houses several primary-care clinics and the main branch of the Stanford Health Library—inspired many aspects of TEF’s design for the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center. From composition and scale to materials and organization, the new 95,000-square-foot center borrows telling aspects from its prominent neighbor.

“We wanted the new building to fit in on the campus without overwhelming the Hoover Pavilion,” says Alyosha Verzhbinsky, TEF principal in charge, “but also to have its own identity.” Mimicking the terra-cotta bands of fenestration on the older building, all but one facade of the new four-story structure features similarly scaled vertical strips with windows.

With a multibillion-dollar project for the same client—Stanford Health Center, by Rafael Viñoly Architects—under construction nearby, this facility was left with a tight budget. A conven­tional glass curtain wall wraps parts of the building, and much of the remaining exterior features stucco, with discrete portions clad in terra-cotta block.

The neuroscience center, an outpatient facility and the last building to be erected on this smaller campus, needed to be built quickly. “Some planning was going on simultaneously with construction,” says Verzh­binsky. “What’s normally a sequential process had to be integrated.” That process also included extensive input from a patient advisory board, physicians, and staff to address every aspect of the building’s design.

From the sprawling entrance lobby—with its centralized computer check-in kiosk—to the corner waiting rooms, the architects made the public spaces bright and welcoming. The designers also chose light-colored finishes, unusual for such a highly trafficked building, with touches of wood. Patients with brain injuries or neurological disorders can get easily disoriented; artwork throughout features clean, graphic lines and immediately discernible shapes. This type of attention was carried to the landscaping as well. A mobility garden offers patients undergoing rehabilitation an opportunity to improve strength and balance by walking on uneven surfaces in an outdoor setting.

Equal consideration was given to staff areas. Their top-floor offices open onto generous terraces with outdoor seating and views to the neighboring foothills, and to the building that inspired their own.

Exam rooms are configured into pods of care to allow clinical teams to function in a multidisciplinary fashion. Seven-foot-wide corridors ease circulation through the clinical areas and provide nooks for seating. An area for infusion therapy on the second floor offers patients daylight-filled spaces with views, since they can spend up to eight hours receiving medication there.

In fact, patients often pass an entire day at the facility, which streamlines the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders by consolidating all aspects of the healing process in one building. “We own the complexity and the coordination,” explains Mark Tortor­ich, Stanford Health Care’s vice president of Planning, Design and Construction. It is a chief reason the neuroscience department opted to give up its spread-out spaces on Stanford’s main campus. Here, the dedicated building becomes a one-stop destination where patients, up to 300 a day, come to see multiple doctors, receive rehabilitation therapy, or get a scan in a single visit.

With 16-foot-high ceilings, the basement level accommodates the large equipment for MRI and PET scans, including magnets that can weigh over 20,000 pounds. Walls, however, are flexible, to allow this equipment to change every few years as technology advances.

The one confined space in the building is on the second floor. Designed like a sauna, with a dressing area and shower suite, a special laboratory offers controlled temperature, humidity, and airflow. The first-of-its-kind custom-built thermoregulatory sweat test room diagnoses conditions such as autonomic and small fiber neuropathy and impairment in other neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

The architects’ two-pronged effort is commendable. They provided interior spaces for innovative research and state-of-the-art technology with a noninstitutional-looking design; at the same time, they integrated the low-budget, modest building into its pastoral, and historic, campus.



TEF Design
1420 Sutter Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94109
p (415) 391-7918
f 1 (415) 391-7309


Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:

Alyosha Verzhbinsky, FAIA, Principal In Charge (RA)
Bobbie Fisch, CID, Programming and Interior Design Principal
Viral Vithalani, Project Architect (RA)
Stephen Simon, Project Architect
Laura Allen, Project Architect (RA)
Louise Louie, Project Architect


Architect of record:

TEF Design


Interior designer:

TEF Design



Degenkolb Engineers, Structural
Interface Engineering, Mechanical Basis of Design
ACCO Engineered Systems, Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer of Record
Sandis, Civil Engineer
Design Electric, Electrical Design Build
Cosco Fire Protection, Fire Protection
Devco Engineering Inc., Light Gauge Steel Engineering
CS Erectors, Curtainwall/Rain Screen Fabrication



BFS Landscape Architects, Landscape

Architecture + Light, Lighting Design

Charles M. Salter Associates, Acoustic Engineering

Emily Borland, Specifications

Teecom, Telecommunications

Propp + Guerin, Signage


General contractor:

Cahill Contractors, Inc.



Photographs ©2016 Bruce Damonte, (415) 845-6919



Stanford Health Care



95,000 square feet





Completion date:

December 2015 



Structural System

Distributed moment frame

Manufacturer of any structural components unique to this project: Conxtech ConXL System

ConX is a mass customizable, modular prefabricated structural building system.


Exterior Cladding

Masonry: None

Metal panels: 1/8" thick aluminum panels by Overgaard Ltd.

Metal/glass curtain wall: C/S Erectors, Overgaard Ltd.

Rainscreen: NBK Terracotta panels, 8" courses, color: 7.01

Precast concrete: None

Wood: Pau Lope
1 x 6, IPE @ Terrace Decking
1 x 4, 1 x 6 IPE @ Corporation Yard Screen

EIFS, ACM, or other: Plaster (Cement), Integral Color – Medium finish BMI 400

Moisture barrier: WR Grace

Curtain wall: Overgaard Ltd.

Other cladding unique to this project: N/A



Built-up roofing: Johns Manville
Built Up Bituminous Roofing



Metal frame: Overgaard Ltd. Aluminum strip windows on west, south facades



Glass: Viracon — Vision glass; Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope — Shadow boxes of curtain wall

Level 4 Exterior Sun Shades: Overgaard Ltd, C/S Erectors



Entrances: Horton Type 110
Sliding entrance doors: Level 1
Level 4 Terrace + Level 1 swing out doors: Overgaard
Supportive Services Interior All Glass Door: CR Laurence

Metal doors: Stiles

Wood doors: Algoma

Sliding doors: AD Systems
Exam Room and Level 1 Single Flush wood doors

Fire-control doors, security grilles: Cookson



Locksets: Sargent

Closers: Sargent
351 Series Aluminum closer

Exit devices: Sargent

Pulls: Sargent / Rockwood
Varies by door type

Security devices: By various manufacturers


Interior Finishes

Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong: 2x4, 2x2 Ultima Regular
Armstrong: 4x4 Optima Regular at Lobbies on B, 1, 2, 3 &* 4
Armstrong: Axiom knife Edge, Fascias & trims
Armstrong: Woodwork grills at Elevator lobby, supportive services at Level 1
Armstrong: Metal pan ceiling at Lobby on Level 1

Suspension grid: Armstrong: Interlude XL

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Northwestern Design NWD

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams & Frazee Paints

Wall coverings: Anigre Wall Covering in lobbies
Jacaranda Inc. "Sanfoot" wood veneer wall covering

Paneling: Novawall
Acoustical f abric wall panels

Plastic laminate: Formica, Wilson Art

Solid surfacing: Silestone, solid surface countertops

Special surfacing: Maharam uphholstery
Fabric wrapped panels

Floor and wall tile: TOILETS
Crossville 3x3 Sea Otter -- Floor
Crossville 6 x 24 Pore White -- Walls

FLOOR @ Lobby @ Level 1
6" x 24" Crossville -- Sea Otter A1108

Resilient flooring:  Forbo-Marmoleum

Carpet: Shaw
Solution Dyed Pattern Loop, Nylon
24" x 24" Carpet Tiles

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Recycled wood block floors in the supportive services @ Level 1
Kaswell -- Hemlock Prefinished strip block
color: Salt Grey
1" Depth, Tongue & Groove



Office furniture: Steelcase

Reception furniture: WAITING AREAS
Andreu World
Krug (ICF Screens, may not be in photos)

Fixed seating: N/A

Chairs: Krug
Andreu World

Tables: Coalesse

Upholstery: HBF

Other furniture: Credenzas -- Coalesse
Screens -- ICF, 3Form and Bretford
Benches -- Janus et Cie
Files -- Steelcase + Mayline



Interior ambient lighting: Various vendors

Downlights: Cooper Lighting 4" LED

Tasklighting: Under Cabinet @ Exam rooms = Philips Day-brite T5

Exterior: Gardco -- Form 10 Square -- 25' Tall
Antique Street Lamps -- Capital Series -- 12' Tall to match campus standard
Winona Recessed Lights @ 4th Floor Terraces

Dimming system or other lighting controls: Lutron



Elevators/escalators: Kone EcoSpace 3500



Sinks: Elkay

Faucets: Chicago, Kohler

Water Dispensers: Insinkerator

Clinical Sink: Kohler

Lavatory: Kohler

Toilet: Kohler

Urinal: Kohler

Drinking Fountain: Haws