Project Profile: San Rafael Medical Office Building


The San Rafael Medical Office Building by Harriman Kinyon Architects is located in a planned transitionary area within the traditional downtown and the surrounding residential districts. The firm needed to be cognizant of the historic nature of the adjacent Victorians and at the same time be true to the use and functions of the project and the desires and sensitivities of the City and public.

The project was constricted on all sides. The lot was small, therefore accommodating the proposed program and simultaneously achieving the required parking count seemed impossible. The breakthrough occurred with the purchase and incorporation of an adjacent Victorian into the overall project planning process. The structure of the house was in a sad state following multiple poorly conceived renovations that had left it a non-functional three-unit apartment. A second Harriman Kinyon design team tackled the task of converting the Victorian back to a single family home and bringing it back to its former glory. In doing so, they were able to adjust property lines and parking layout on both properties to achieve the desired results.

proj5As for the new medical office building, rather than mimic the style of the adjacent homes, the solution was to contrast them with a contemporary look while also softening the building exterior in order to introduce a pedestrian-friendly scale. To that end the architects articulated the building façade with elements of similar scale and proportion to the Victorians, introduced materials and elements to provide pedestrian-level interest, and incorporated materials such as cedar siding, gently curved trim and ornamental awnings to evoke a more residential character.

The firm used the challenging site topography to their advantage by incorporating a semi-recessed garage into the project. This allowed them to maximize the building footprint as well as the parking. Special care was taken to ensure appropriate vertical clearances within the garage to allow for delivery vehicle access and provide an end-user required patient emergency exit ramp, while still conforming to the City’s restrictive maximum height requirements.

Through creative problem solving, the architects were able to take a seemingly unfeasible medical office building project and turn it into a viable endeavor. More than that, this project was an exercise and opportunity for the firm to utilize all their skills and talents to deliver a successful projeproj3ct.


Developer: Meridian Property Company
Shell GC: Stevens Hemmingway Stevens
TI GC: Tri-quest Builders & Developers, Inc
Structural: Hohbach-Lewin, inc.
Mechanical, Plumbing: Engineering Network
Electrical: Jensen Engineering, Inc
Historic Architect Consultant: Carey & Co
Photographer: Photographs provided by the owner




This entry was posted in ArchNews. Bookmark the permalink.