The city of Okemos, Michigan, richly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright and Alden Dow, became the site for the Tamarac Clinic. A 1935 Dow cottage previously occupying the site and a Wright Usonian home in Okemos were historical inspiration for the design. The building houses a head injury clinic and psychology offices. The H-shaped building, including a full courtyard below grade, replaces the cottage, yet maintains the original Dow roof and window shapes to harmonize with the surrounding oak forest. The bridge spanning the two-story courtyard and the windows in the south-facing courtyard shows Wright's influence. The clients, Drs. Charles and Sandra Reeder, expressed an early concern to keep the north entry at grade for the convenience of the patients and their families. Parking was divided between the upper and lower portions of the building. Some of the trees that had to be felled to accommodate the building and parking lots were later milled and used in the project as Prairie School-inspired oak trim. Another program requirement was a kitchen to teach independent living skills. The teaching kitchen, as well as the rest of the building, is designed for patients with impaired mobility. The focus of this design is the treatment of the patients, most of who are recovering from recent closed-head injuries. The building and grounds are meant to be calming to the patients while offering a balance between comfort and the stimulation needed to complete their recovery. -Excerpts from a publication by Don Price in the Inland Architect Magazine
Tamarac Clinic
Prairie-style Medical Offices
Client: Tamarac Pediatric Clinic
Architect: Rueter Associates Architects
All photographs by Marc Rueter