Memphis, Tennesssee


The Patterson OB/GYN Clinic is located amid a suburban complex of low-rise office buildings that are faced with mass-produced Georgian columns and artificial colonial details. The architects at buildingstudio were first inclined to make an expressive contemporary assertion into this generic landscape—but decided instead to make their building read as “non-building” from the street.

To make their building disappear, the architects conceived of the site as a mini-park. A berm, covered with jasmine plantings, conceals the street-facing façade and gives the impression that the clinic has been pushed down into the earth. The berm continues up a low sloping roof, becoming a roof garden planted with sedum. A small water garden flanks the front entrance and is visible from the glass-enclosed waiting room indoors. The room also has views of a retention pond for storm water runoff as well as marsh grasses surrounding the pond.

The clinic contains five examination rooms, which are aligned along a central corridor. A full-length glass wall fronts these rooms and provide views of a walled garden. Clerestory windows trace the building’s perimeter as well as the sides of the central corridor. They allow daylight to flood the clinic’s interior spaces and ensure that every room has a view of the sky. The south and west clerestories feature wide overhangs and a system of aluminum perforated planks that reduce solar gain and glare. All of the building’s HVAC ducts are located below the floor slab. This helps boost energy efficiency and lightens the weight of the roof. Public spaces are laid with bamboo plank flooring while a composite material made of recycled content covers the exam room floors.