BALANCING SOLID AND VOID; ROUGH AND SMOOTH
Location: Marble Falls, Texas
Design Team: Matt Fajkus, AIA; Ian Ellis; Jayson Kabala; David Birt
Re-interpreting the medical center typology, this building has a clear presence, while also having reverence for its surroundings by acting as a lens to nature and its healing qualities. The building form and its spaces are for awareness of nature and of self, and ultimately healing, predicated on the goal of wellness through architectural moves.
In antiquity, idyllic landscapes that embraced nature were used to promote healing. Similar qualities exist in the site's Texas Hill Country landscape, including the opportunity to site this building on a hilltop where it can be viewed with curiosity in passing, as well as its location near, but outside, the city of Austin which allows it to act as a retreat and destination.
Holistically, the building acts as a transitional portal from public to private, and from private to nature--the antidote to the typical medical center, with its opaque walls and opaque sequences. The building form pulls the user through, visually and physically. The overall concrete form of the building filters light and frames the “beyond”. Approaching, there is an opportunity for a subtle mental cleanse as one passes through the layers of landscape and extracted concrete planes. Upon entry, the wood portal delineates the transition between public and private program and shifts the focal point to nature. One can literally see the horizon, and it figuratively frames the light at the end of the tunnel through the healing process. Beyond the wood portal, the passage to the private exam rooms is bathed in daylight, unlike typical double-loaded hospital corridors.
With the satisfaction and wellness of staff and patients as the primary priority, this building fulfills its most fundamental role - breaking down barriers to health and wellbeing for all users and encouraging visitation, and therefore, preventative patient care.
Charles Davis Smith
Westlake Dermatology Marble Falls