Architect: John Van Rooy Architecture
Owner: Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, SC
Contractor: Triad Construction, Inc.
With a sensitive hand and thoughtful details Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists transformed an obsolete, undesirable building into a work of architecture that is inviting, efficient and exemplifies contemporary architectural detailing. This thoughtful transformation allowed a building destined for a landfill to live a new life as a vibrant medical office and business headquarters for a young growing company.
Located on an active retail corridor in Wauwatosa, Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists (Advent) purchased this 10,000 sqft building of the 1960’s vintage for their expanding medical practice. The building as purchased was most recently a fitness center with few interior walls and a surplus of mirrors. The exterior was painted masonry with limited windows. The street façade was made up of storefront and an applied mansard roof with a central single gable reminiscent of a storefront church. The site was paved tight to the building in almost all directions. It was a tired building on a prime piece of real estate and ready for a new life.
Advent desired a facility as an iconic brick and mortar location to represent their innovative practice. They wanted a building that spoke to their brand as well as met their programmatic requirements of housing exam rooms, procedure rooms and their business headquarters. The interior experience was to be contemporary while being inviting and warm. Patient comfort and experience were paramount.
The rehabilitation began with stripping the building to its structural shell and the street facing bay being completely removed so it could be reconfigured in a more desirable composition. Where space allowed, the asphalt was cut away for plantings- softening the experience inside and out. New openings were cut into the existing masonry, allowing views out and natural light to penetrate the previous dark space. Large limestone bases were added at the sills of the new opening to provide visual interest on the exterior and unify the existing building with the new street facade.
The new street facade is composed of a tall glass volume with edges of aluminum panels all resting on a base of locally quarried limestone. It houses a multipurpose meeting room and event space. The curtain wall uses airfoil louvers as both a compositional element and to harvest or block solar heat gain. Just outside the glass volume a grid of dwarf flowering crabapple trees was planted in place of asphalt- giving the inhabitant of the space some privacy from the busy road beyond and creating a sense of tranquility being near nature in an otherwise active location. The remaining portion of the street façade is composed of large panels of Corten, fastened with stainless steel rivets and holding the polished building signage as a purposeful contrast to the rugged Corten background. This all floats over a continuous inset of butt glazed storefront. The existing masonry was painted white and a Corten clad entry tower was added at the parking lot.
The interior brings an entrance and lobby with accent areas of wire brushed, rift sawn, white oak boards stacked like Lincoln logs- complimented by limestone insets matching that of the exterior. This touch of wood is picked up throughout the facility in 8’ tall matching rift oak doors. Areas of interior glass were strategically placed to allow natural light to penetrate the previously dark space.
The renovation improved energy efficiency with a significant increase in insulation at the walls and roof while incorporating new high efficiency mechanical systems and LED lighting throughout.
Photos: Alloy Photography