Located in Seattle, Washington in the SODO district at 5601 6th Ave South on the fourth floor will be a multidisciplinary medical group called NEXT. They are a private medical group that has rooted itself in the Pacific Northwest for the past 20 plus years. They are known for being a collaborative team that focuses on millennials as well as baby boomers. The building they will be inhabiting is a convenient site for patients, being only four and a half miles south of downtown. It will have a view of this from the west and will allow for natural light through its dramatic angled exterior windows. The main goal for this design is to enhance collaboration between employees and the community, create an adaptable space for all types of users, and allow for improvement in employee wellbeing.
Architects: Hannah Tuma
Id Studio Iii Large Scale Planning And Documentation
Kent State University

Concept: Fluctuate; to change continually; to shift back and forth; to vary irregularly. In a flexible space, fluctuation is necessary for a thriving atmosphere and continuous growth. As the user moves through the space, variations of social and focus areas will be provided to allow for overall maximum productivity.

To expand on the idea of fluctuating in terms of shifting back and forth, the structural aspects of the medical center fluctuate within themselves and are a major component within the design. Angled walls are created to achieve this. By creating walls that fluctuate, they become a wayfinding tool for users because they create a sense of continuous movement and will guide users through the space. Another structural aspect that is used to reflect this concept are the suspended ceilings. The suspended ceilings reflect this type of movement as well because the heights shift depending on the space underneath them. Lastly, interior soffits are created to shape the space and allow for moments of intimacy. These soffits shift in height depending on the area in which they are being used.

The space plan reflects fluctuation because as the user moves through the space, there will be several opportunities for respite, socialization, collaboration, or focus. These types of areas are divided into the space so that each type can be accessed in several parts of the building. So as the user is walking along the path, the spaces themselves fluctuate in terms of how social or private they are.
Materiality itself fluctuates as well. The shift between transparent and solid parts is apparent in this space, as there is a need for both private and public areas. The flooring reflects this concept as well because there are shifts and variations in flooring depending on the type of space being used or if the path the user is on is a part of wayfinding.

Hannah Tuma is currently a fourth-year student in the Interior Design program at Kent State University. In this program, and through her current intern position at Van Auken Akins Architects LLC, she continues to develop the necessary skills to properly create and execute designs that promote the well-being of all users. As she approaches graduation, she is gaining special interests in sustainability, biophilic design, and the expansive and ever-growing meaning of universal design.