The Streamline Design of Avero Diagnostics
A turquoise blue corridor supported by cast aluminum spider bolts sweeps through the center of the Avero Diagnostics building in Lubbock, Texas. Quality, integrity and innovation are the core values of Avero and are reflected in this space. The purpose behind Parkhill, Smith & Cooper’s design and function of the building were just as streamlined as the look of the structure from the street.
“The number one goal we wanted to accomplish was to make it functional and long-lasting. Medical clients need the most out of their projects and flexibility to meet their needs later,” said Lacy Mangum, CHID, interior designer on the project.
Avero’s design keeps both patients and employees in mind. Vertical band windows and clerestory windows allow more natural light inside from the walls and ceiling. As passersby admire the design from the outside, those inside the building are soaked with natural light as they continue about their day.
Project Architect Corey Branch, AIA, said the biggest obstacle for this project was designing, coordinating and installing the “glass spine” feature supported by spider brackets and mounted to a steel subframe. Branch also said this project was a real learning experience, because this was the first time the design team had worked with this type of system.
“I appreciate how the indoor design is directly connected to the outside environment through the use of glass walls,” said Ty Sisco, AIA, LI, landscape architect of the project.
The greenery and water features included in two landscaped courtyards contrast with the industrial look of aluminum panels and burnished Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) on the building. The courtyards are located on the north and south ends and provide another opportunity for employees to enjoy the sunshine and take a break in the fresh air.
Sisco said that the courtyards were designed to screen out traffic and wind. The north courtyard is open to the public, and the south courtyard was created to provide a restful environment for employees to break or have lunch at the benches and tables. This area is landscaped with trees and flowers that add splashes of color. A geometric water feature creates white noise to drown out traffic in this relaxing space.
“The materials and form of the exterior were chosen to tell a little of the story of what is happening on the interior of the building,” Branch said. “The sleek and industrial look of the glass feature and metal siding tells of the high-tech operations that occur on the interior. This is contrasted with split-face CMU, which represents the more natural part of the pathology office.”
Mangum explained that building an environment that translated from the human body was a challenge the team focused on in the design.
“The color palette was inspired by cells – down to the carpet,” she said. “Circular, ‘cellular’ references are used throughout the architecture and interior design to bring this concept to life.”
The 10,000-square-foot pathology laboratory was completed in March 2009 and houses the expanse of the lab, a reading room for pathologists and an office space. Every workspace in the lab is a cog in the efficient machinery of Avero, with each serving a unique purpose for specific tasks related to helping patients with serious diseases. Modular lab case work is used in the lab, so employees can adapt the space through plug-and-play design to suit their needs.
The lab has several hoods, plenty of room for lab equipment, a processing room, and work spaces for histology and tissue cultures. An equipment room and technical space is devoted to pap smear slide profiles. A complex IT network was installed to support Avero’s computing needs. This design has both visual appeal and versatility to suit the needs and comfort of those working there as well as the patients.
“When you enter the finished building,” Branch said, “you can see and experience the cohesiveness adding to the uniqueness of the building.”