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by Dror baldinger, aia Clearly Enlightened project client Methodist Healthcare Ministries, San Antonio Methodist Healthcare Ministries architect Kell Muñoz Architects design team Gautam K. Dey, AIA; John H. Kell, Jr., FAIA; Geoffrey S. Edwards, AIA contractor consultants Keller-Martin Organization Lundy & Franke Engineering (structural); Goetting & Associates (MEP); Bury + Partners (civil); Rialto Studio (landscape) photographer 32 t e x a s Joe Aker, Aker/Zvonkovic a r c h i t e c t Located at a very busy intersection in northwest San Antonio, the new and strikingly modern headquarters of the Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM) demonstrates an inspired blend of geometry, reason, and artistic instinct. From its new facility at South Texas Medical Center, the faith-based, nonprofit organization manages healthcare services and financial support to constituencies throughout the southern third of Texas. The MHM’s compositional qualities of site plan, floor plans, building sections, elevations, and details are all handled with great skill and technical control. At first glance, the building’s placement on the corner of Medical Drive and Floyd Curl Drive, appears to blatantly disregard the orthogonal street grid. By doing so, the building seems to set itself apart from its neighbors as an object building. However, Geof Edwards, AIA, of Kell Muñoz Architects, the building’s designer, quickly dispels this notion. He points to the direct visual axis that binds the building with its surroundings. The axis begins at the Methodist Hospital (MHM own half of the hospital), which is juxtaposed across the street intersection from the MHM, and continues perpendicularly through the MHM’s two-story, transparent lobby to the northern edge of the medical center area and the Hill Country beyond. This powerful linkage is most obvious from MHM’s third-floor boardroom with its views of the hospital to the south and the Hill Country to the north. These vistas serve as inspiring reminders to the MHM employees and board members of their mission to serve the community. Three major programmatic components form the floor plan’s “L” shape that joins a highly efficient and compact three-story office block with a fully glazed, two-story entry lobby set under a third-floor boardroom. This configuration divides the site into two distinct public and private zones. The private zone in the interior of the site is a contemplative garden space enclosed on three 5 / 6 2 0 0 7

Texas Architect May/June 2007: San Antonio

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