Imagine going to the doctor and finding comprehensive services under one roof without ever getting lost. Picture open, homelike surroundings with bright artwork and antiques woven throughout sunlit waiting rooms. Think about treatment areas surrounded by tropical aquariums and plush, comfortable furniture. This is what architects, designers and the owner of this ambulatory care facility wanted patients to experience, whether receiving a routine checkup or advanced treatment.

Before the construction of OU Physicians, patients faced a complicated maze of services scattered across the campus. The new facility has provided an opportunity for the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center to reach out to the community and offer prompt, efficient and comprehensive care in one convenient location


The five-story building creates a distinctive identity for OU Physicians with its curvilinear form, arched roof and light green undulating glass wall. The building is strategically placed on the site for easy access. Visitors and patients approaching the building can see through the glassy five-story atrium and recognize the main lobby and entrance. The entrance drive leads directly to designated patient parking. An undulating atrium and glass-enclosed walkways guide patients from the adjacent parking garage into and throughout the building, delivering them to and from physician suites.

Architects and designers faced the challenge of providing flexible exam, diagnostic and treatment spaces for 15 private specialty groups. The goal was to improve and streamline patient care and delivery systems. Standard exam modules were created to be extremely adaptable and allow staff to “float” to and from different areas. Exam rooms, nurses' stations and reception areas all have a repetitive design to prevent disorientation


The free and unobstructed floor space adds flexibility for future changes in physician groups or services. A staff-only corridor running the entire back length of the building allows quick and easy access and is hidden from waiting areas. Departments are able to combine and coordinate several services for each practice, freeing patients from many consultations at various locations.

A tranquil environment is evident throughout each department, with carefully chosen colors that are soothing, yet cheerful. Calming atmospheres were created in and around treatment areas by incorporating unusual conversation pieces, such as large tropical fish tanks in the chemotherapy rooms. Artwork and furniture were selected to soothe patients. While the interior maintains a basic color palette, every floor has a color designation. Color-themed serpentine paths provide an easy wayfinding system


Each department has its own reception and waiting area for more personal service, supporting the welcoming, open environment. Exterior views and abundant natural light in waiting areas and lobbies reinforce the nonclinical atmosphere


PROJECT CATEGORY New Construction (completed November 2001)

CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR Mike Duncan, CEO, (405) 271-6872

FIRM Rees Associates, Inc., (405) 942-7337

DESIGN TEAM Lisa Matthews, Designer; Kathy Potts, Richard Semtner, Project Managers (Rees Associates, Inc.); Gary Restar, Construction Manager (Flintco, Inc., General Contractor); Mark Harris, President (M.L. Harris & Company, Developer)

PHOTOGRAPHY Joseph Mills Photography