Charleston ENT is growing. Their exciting and successful business model demands that they move into areas requiring free-standing structures. This 24,000 square foot project serves as the administrative and scheduling hub for all of Charleston ENT’s 7 offices and features 5 specialized medical functions: a four-doctor ENT clinic, allergy center, sleep center, audiology and a compounding pharmacy.
The structure is a combination of single story and two story masses, each in response to the functions within. All of the 5 specialized medical services on the ground floor are radially connected by a waiting area, “main-street”, where a multitude of activities occur. Main street fosters both loud and soft spaces, includes areas for laptop work or internet and gaming areas, includes a beverage station as well as smaller children play areas.
Complimenting ENT’s expansion, the concept of growth is explored on the building’s exterior through the study of nature’s molting processes. Exterior walls are being shed, extending beyond their new skin, typically expressed as masonry end walls slipping away, revealing softer materials underneath. Like a blue crab’s soft shell, a new fragile shell is exposed. At some instances, at the point where the two skins meet, glass occurs, furthering the fragility of this transition.
Likewise, the second story extrudes from the first. The lighter material is extracted from the masonry material below it and is materially expressed as a new shell. The fenestration responds to the building’s orientation, there are large glass expanses towards the East, and towards the West smaller openings occur.
The curved roof mimics the curving masonry wall, framing main-street below, bonding the two forms together. The large roof overhang extends beyond the face of the building, of note is the eastern side where the structural extensions arc similarly to featherless young wings.
The building proportions were found using the golden section, or fractions thereof, called dynamic rectangles. This device is readily found throughout nature and has been used throughout history in art and architecture.