Designing from the Inside Out

Building Design Management by Green Curve Studio

Ground Up – Designing from the Inside Out

Case Study 4,020 sq ft Ground Up with 600 sq ft finished mezzanine.
Project Description: Approx. 1.5 acres site to be developed with 2 pads, one larger pad for an 3,100 sq ft orthodontic office and one smaller 2,000 sq ft pad to be developed at a later date.
Project Goals: Build a 3,100 sq ft orthodontic office, doctor is hoping to stay within a set budget for design and construction.
Branding Goals: Strike a chord between traditional Texas Hills Country style; a modern layout and edgy interior design features. The design needed to express that the doctor is well established and experienced, he is the leading orthodontic expert in the region, but also modern and providing cutting edge services.
Green Curve Scope of Services Phase I: Develop design concepts for the building shell, PreQualify local architects/engineers and obtain proposals for site development and building shell design.

Project Starts

Green Curve Consultation: While the initial goal is to stay within 3,100 sq ft the team feels from the start based on the design program requirements that 3,100 sq ft will be too restrictive to meet his current spatial requirements, it will not allow for future growth, and expansion at a later date would be very expensive. It’s not going to cost that much more to build out an extra few hundred square feet. It’s important though to provide a layout within the 3,100 sq ft, that gives the doctor the visual tool to make an educated decision about what’s really required for the project investment.

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Schematic Site Plan: The initial site plan is exactly what the doctor ordered as far as size.  However as you can see the entrance to the building is turned inward and the team feels this not a good orientation since it will not show case the building architecture. And the schematic foot print is likely too narrow to accommodate optimal floor plan layout.

Let’s see what Happens: As stated before we believe it’s a very important process to develop a floor plan that is within the doctors initial goal, it’s an informative process. It takes the team 4,5,6,7 scratch drafts to warm up before a layout starts to take shape. We prefer to have 2-3 members develop feedback drafts to provide a wide range of options for coming from different points of view. To begin with we are working within the parameters of the schematic foot print with the entrance to the side.

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Results: It’s apparent early on that 3,100 sq ft will not be adequate and after consulting with the site planner, the team takes the initiate to reshape the building foot print expanding the ground floor to 3,400 then to 4,000 sq ft.  This enables the doctor to visualize size and shape needed for optimal function and flow.

Doctor Consultation & Team Collaboration: As anticipated more space is required, however the extra square footage is far over the initial budget. Often a doctor will base the required size for a new space on the space they now work in, it’s very common to estimate that a space double the size will be adequate, so if one is currently practicing in 1,500 sq ft they will estimate twice that amount will be adequate. However, doubling the space will likely catch them up their current needs and more room will be needed to accommodate future growth. When investing in a Ground Up you are likely creating the “Dream Office”, so your wish list will grow.  In the long run the initial budget is unrealistic and with the help of initial layouts and consultation the doctor realizes that he wants to optimize the layout and is prepared to make the additional investment.

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Firming up the plan and building foot print: With the doctors vote of confidence the team works towards firming up the floor plan, during this process work zones and orientation are flipped around many times over, entrance and exits points will be shifted back and forth to perfect the flow.

Revisiting the site Orientation & Building Foot Print: The building foot print has changed from a 3,100 sq ft rectangle to 4,020 sq ft square shaped building, with 600 sq ft finished attic space. The team feels strongly that the entrance to the building needs to be turned to be more visible, so when driving into the site the entrance is show cased and not hidden off to the side. There is some resistance at first, but as the Green Curve team flips the building a consensus is built to turn the building and reshape the site plan.

Shaping the Shell Architecture and Building Foot Print: Now the team revisits the concepts developed for the building shell architecture and continue to rework the plan to create zones for architectural expression – designing from the inside out. The team has previously explored many of options to achieve the perfect brand concept for the shell architecture. This helps point the local architect in the right direction.

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Designing from the Inside Out: This project show cases the advantages of foundational floor planning and how a seasoned orthodontic design expert directs a project from a Brand Driven point of view. Often design specialists are hired at the very end of a project and left to struggle with a less than optimally designed shell.

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A Metal Mesh Partition at Reception brings in an industrial hip edge, much appreciated by the younger orthodontic patient.

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A resin back lit ceiling panel is interpretive nod to the San Antonio River, a source of pride for the local community. Cutting asymmetrically from the from the Front Desk to the Reception Room it strikes the perfect chord between modern and traditional Branding.  Exactly what the doctor ordered.