Shelby County Health Department

  • area / size 86,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • brg3s architects was tasked with creating a thoughtful and expansive space for the Shelby County Health Department in Memphis, Tennessee.

    The new Shelby County Health Department was designed with a strong emphasis on promoting overall well-being for both staff and clients. It aims to foster a holistic approach to health by integrating with the medical district campus and the community around it. The building’s form was derived from thorough research of facilities based in health and wellness concepts that also support critical research of community-based disease preparedness initiatives. Adaptable offices and examination rooms, located close to each other, are the same size so they can be used interchangeably as health needs evolve.

    The architects prioritized transparency and openness in the building’s design, creating a welcoming atmosphere for clients and the community. Ample natural light and scenic views of nature are prevalent throughout the facility, contributing to a positive and refreshing environment.

    To promote physical activity, engagement, and connectivity, a cantilevered staircase extends from the primary gallery and clinic entrances. This distinctive feature shapes the main public spaces and encourages movement and interaction within the facility.

    The Health Center was constructed using a steel frame and clad in a composite metal profile panel rainscreen, ensuring both durability and aesthetic appeal. The building’s exterior design was a challenge, as it features the metal wall panels laid out on a 48-inch grid, with a half-inch joint every 4 feet. Ensuring all panels precisely lined up with the curtainwall grid. To achieve the architect’s vision required an intense quality control, coordination and communication effort involving the construction leadership, design team and exterior envelop subcontractor.

    Floor-to-ceiling, toggle-glazed curtain walls define the open offices, allowing natural light to flood the entire center, including the clinic spaces. Furthermore, exterior spaces have been thoughtfully integrated into the building mass, offering protected and covered outdoor areas on every level of the facility.

    Metalwork ceilings adorn the subtracted building mass and the cantilevered monumental stairs, extending the ceiling planes. This design element not only welcomes the community but also extends the building’s presence into the surrounding campus, creating a seamless connection between the Health Center and its surroundings.

    Design: brg3s architects
    Photography: Chad Mellon