Project category: New construction (completed September 2005)

Chief administrator: Bruce Thorsen, Chief Executive Officer, (828) 213-1020

Firm: Stanley Beaman & Sears, Inc., (404) 524-2200

Design team: Kimberly Stanley, AIA, ASID, Principal; Betsy Beaman, AIA, ASID, Director of Design; Tara Rae Hill, ASID, Director of Interiors; Burn Sears, AIA, Project Manager; Jennifer Ehrich, Design Team Member; Don Glitsis, Construction Administration

Photography: ©2006 Jonathan Hillyer

Total building area (sq. ft.): 70,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $140

Total construction cost (excluding land): $9,800,000

The Reuter Children's Outpatient Center was developed to provide outstanding healthcare to children in western North Carolina. The facility owes its origins to generous community members and concerned physicians dedicated to improving health opportunities for pediatric and adolescent patients in a comfortable environment. Situated on a parcel of land adjacent to the Biltmore Forest, the facility consolidates a diverse range of healthcare services, including medical and surgical subspecialty clinics, a Child Development Center, a Children's Dental Program, a Children's Cancer Program, and the Mountain Child Evaluation Program, which focuses on issues of child abuse.

Nestled among the trees of the Biltmore Forest, the Outpatient Center resembles the local mountain vernacular on an institutional scale. Patients are greeted by a courtyard garden flanked by glass and stucco walls that are offset by stone colonnades. The expansive windows filter natural light into the building between free-form mullions that mimic tree branches. Inside, native foliage motifs contribute to the natural design décor in bold form and subtle detail. Metal leaf sculptures decorate the walls and lowered ceilings of check-in stations. Inlaid patterns of forest ferns, white oaks, and magnolia leaves greet children at eye level as they register at the wood-paneled front desk of each department.

The overall design of the Outpatient Center reflects a local and regional architectural character that promises to reassure children and their families from rural communities. The vivid integration of foliage and natural materials evokes a decidedly noninstitutional flair that reinforces themes of life-affirming imagery and enhanced educational opportunities.