CENTER FOR ACADEMIC MEDICINE, STANFORD, CA
This center for academic medicine represents an ambitious effort to provide disparate research disciplines with a common, collaborative environment.
Team’s integrated design services included architecture, landscape architecture, sustainability consulting, interior design, strategic planning, structural engineering and MEP engineering.
The location’s mild Mediterranean climate and an adjacent nature preserve inspired the team to develop a master plan for the three buildings to act as an extension of the arboretum experience by featuring connected outdoor spaces.
The narrow wings envelop a courtyard providing diverse settings for collaboration near the woods and in plazas, balconies, walkways, porches and terraces.
Internally, the workplace promotes interaction between medical specialists and the outdoor environment.
response to climate (Top) building performance diagrams (Bottom)
Like the Gates of Janus in ancient Rome, the center for academic medicine acts as a gate with multiple functions: from past to future, from historical campus to new medical school campus, and from university grounds to the arboretum.
Built above a parking structure, the courtyard is accessed from under the great hovering west volume—a porch-like space that will host a range of functions and frame a generous opening to the courtyard and arboretum. The courtyard features a large ovoid lawn bound by a meandering path to the arboretum. Flanked by trees and shrubs of local species, this path extends the arboretum plants into the courtyard.
An enveloping strategy allays the horizontal proportions, directionality and implicit rotation of the building’s volumes. Long sequences of repetitive vertical elements are carefully adapted to the facade’s specific condition. The subtle, rotating architecture hovers above ground—except at the northwest corner, where it is rooted in the earth in a wide, terra-cotta plinth.
The courtyard, which can be accessed from both the west and south, is surrounded by activity. Faculty, students and staff from the more public north wing will be drawn to the space and its restaurant, auditorium and gymnasium. The walkways overlook the courtyard and allow for outdoor access while bridges traverse its edges. Completely open to the arboretum, the courtyard is a visual and experiential vestibule to nature.
The long, hovering limestone volumes open to the landscape as balconies and terraces. The stone volumes are expressed as planes with vertical proportioned cutouts that expose an inner layer of glass. The west bar articulates an expanded version of the layered facades. An additional layer of aluminum blades provides shading. A longer overhang recalls the pattern of articulated rooftops on the existing campus.