Emory Executive Park Musculoskeletal Institute

The purpose for Emory Clinic to embark on this project is to build an innovative, comprehensive academic Musculoskeletal Center for the Emory Orthopedics and Spine Department to increase access and care. As the newest addition to Emory’s Executive Park health innovation district, the approximately 180,000-square-foot, LEED-certified building will be a comprehensive, patient and family-centered facility providing orthopedics and spine care, physical therapy, imaging and ambulatory surgery with clinical and discovery research support space.

Design Challenge

CHALLENGE/SOLUTION/IMPACT The goal of the new building is to deliver a modern facility that provides clinical space integrated with translational research while offering a full range of services to diagnose, treat and repair bones, joints and connective tissue. Emory Musculoskeletal Institute (EMSK) is dedicated to helping people regain physical motion and activity. The design should be iconic, exemplifying excellence and innovation. The three guiding principles include being visionary to deliver an iconic building that exemplifies excellence and innovation; stewardship for adding value to the project; and embodiment to showcase the process of restoring function, motion and activity for patients. EMSK embodies the process of restoring physical function, motion & activity through a series of concepts that metaphorically reveals critical body systems and fluidity of motion. These design features continue to the landscape surrounding the institute as well as exterior facade. It is a catalyst, setting the stage for future development that will be a showcase for Emory’s innovative leadership in specialty medicine. EMSK will be the first building in the 75-acre master plan of a recently acquired Executive Park, designed to be a wellness community & destination for patients with special medical conditions. The institute will see over 110,000 patients annually and be a base for Emory University medical research. The building will contain a clinical research lab, exam rooms, ambulatory surgery suite, physical therapy gym and advanced imaging suites. The building design will begin to start an aesthetic for the campus and will influence future development in the area.

Physical Context

Water, energy and air quality are all unknowns in a changing climate. With EMSK’s proximity to a major interstate in a growing region, air quality is in danger. The heavy tree canopy will not only help shade the building and reduce the heat island effect, but also provide more carbon sequestration from the atmosphere. Water systems designed to retain nearly all water on site are designed to be retrofitted with filtration systems to one day reuse the collected water for potable uses. The adjacent parking garage is designed to accommodate a future solar PV array. With an adequate budget and power dense panels, EMSK could one day be near or at net-zero energy. Restoring physical function, activity & motion; to give patients their lives back is critical to wellness and purpose of EMSK. This embodiment of wellness infiltrates landscape, architecture and the materiality. Accessible outdoor areas encourage staff and patients to use these spaces for respite & physical activity while also completing a visual connection to nature. Strategic daylighting of internal spaces not only reduces energy consumption but helps to positively affect the mental and physical wellbeing of patients, their families and staff. The site has been designed to support the concept of fluidity of motion and critical body systems in the building. An extended tree canopy surrounds the site to mimic Atlanta’s city in the forest attributes. Strategic planting creates areas for delicate ecosystems of vegetation and animals to take refuge and thrive.