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Sustainable Satellite Clinic

Designed by HKS/T&L

By: Trish Martineck & Arlene Dales - Monday, September 21, 2009

WISE, VA – To provide the best in quality dental care for rural residents, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) committed to build a new sustainable, satellite dental clinic in Wise, Va. The university selected HKS Architects to design the project in association with Wise-based, architect of record Thompson & Litton, Inc.

The 7,575-square-foot clinic building is designed to house 18 patient rooms with a separate housing facility made up of six, two-bedroom apartments located directly behind the clinic.

“Educating dental students in a ‘live/work’ environment will provide a long-term clinical experience in an off-campus setting, while meeting the dental needs of patients in this highly underserved area,” said Dr. Ron Hunt, dean of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Dentistry.

VCU intends to implement and establish its high-quality brand and identity, while being sensitive to the region’s culture, traditions and architectural aesthetic.

“The clinic’s design concept draws inspiration from the region’s rural setting, industrial fabric and undulating terrain,” said Fred Ortiz, senior designer with HKS Architects. “Elements include the intermittently present and conventionally framed wood-veneered structures with sloped metal roofs, the long and linear formal qualities of the prominently used prefabricated mobile homes and old stone walls with crenellated tops and beaded mortar joints which create edges, thresholds and changes in ground elevation.”

Proposed materials consist of exposed natural wood framing, low-profile roofs, slatted wood veneer, galvalume metal roofing and selective use of aluminum framed glazing. “The emphasis is placed on the project’s image from the main road to the north as well as the patient’s experience when approaching the clinic’s reception area – leading to the open operatory room plan,” he continued. 

The residential complex consists of two-bedroom, two-story apartments and one handicap-accessible, single-story, two-bedroom apartment.

“Fully detached from the clinic and located at the southeast corner of the site, the residents will have a sense of privacy and access to secluded outdoor rooms,” said Ortiz. “A visual and direct connection to the clinic is provided via a tree-lined path. Staff entry at the clinic’s south end also provides for delivery access and is bounded by a fully screened and gated zone.”

Thompson & Litton Principal, Bill Thompson adds, “The construction of the VCU Dental Clinic in Wise County is a win-win opportunity for everyone involved. The significance of the economic impact resulting from the presence of VCU and the new Dental Clinic cannot be overstated.”

LEED initiatives, combined with a fundamental understanding of the site’s access, topography and view sheds, inform the development of site, storm water design and heat island effect. A natural bio-swale running parallel to the clinic’s long axis will not only capture the at-grade storm water runoff, it will also receive the rain water captured by a low-maintenance green roof. This green roof will provide seasonal color and enhance the visual connection between building and landscape.

The project broke ground on August 10, 2009 with estimated completion in spring 2011.

HKS, Inc. is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top-four architectural/engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $45 billion in more than 982 cities located in 46 states, the District of Columbia and 59 foreign countries. The firm operates from 25 worldwide offices.

Thompson & Litton is an award-winning engineering, architectural, surveying, and planning firm founded in Wise, VA in 1956 where its headquarters remains. The firm has a staff of over 130 employees and is ranked as the 19th top Engineering and Architectural firm in the Commonwealth of Virginia by Virginia Business Magazine. Thompson & Litton is a Virginia SWaM certified Small Business Enterprise and has Federal HUB Zone status.


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