The site is 300+ acres of land inherited over three generations. The goal is to solidify the legacy of Wildwood Farm and protect it from the pressures and challenges of surrounding urbanization. Taylormade speaks of the client’s dedication to equestrian sport and community, which will advance far into the future through the establishment of the Taylormade Equine Complex. A hospital and rehabilitation center serves the health and studies of horses within the region, while the long term phasing of the site will develop a nutrition and reproduction center that will facilitate equestrian research. The client wishes to protect the integrity of the site’s natural aesthetic while making a space for this first-class equestrian complex that will increase economic traffic and support the regional equestrian community. This project is a unique opportunity to balance the complexities of public and private space with an architecture expression that does not impose, but rather integrates as a figure within the landscape. Public engagement and accessibility are prioritized through the gardens, trails and arena event space- inviting not just the region, but also neighboring communities to participate in equestrian culture and enjoy the property itself.
Both of the proposed buildings lie on axis with the historic barn, activating this currently underutilized architectural landmark and providing new views into the landscape and arboretum. This play of public and private viewsheds choreographs specific circulation through the site that balances the needs of clients and community. Ultimately both structures are designed to be functional and efficient for the care of horses and human clients, along with the staff and their ability to mobilize through daily routine and in moments of emergency. The buildings’ specific positions and orientation take advantage of the natural topography and amplifies it as a spatial experience while maximizing southern sun exposure. The goal is to integrate the new structures into the landscape without visually or physically disrupting the dynamics of the site. Stormwater management, drainage and waste are built specifically into the roofing system and parking lots to capture and optimize existing flows. The core design strategy is to maintain the property as one piece of land with vibrant, but nested systems of circulation, economy, ecology and culture that share a singular, local identity.
Extensive research studying and specifying the programmatic needs of hospital rooms, functions and adjacencies preempted the design process. Careful program and space planning maximize efficiencies and flow without extending the building footprint. The use of geothermal systems takes advantage of local climate and the use of heavy timber frames on a tartan grid anticipates volumetric flexibility over the life of the building to allow for future programmatic change.
This site is so large that it represents both extremes in the spectrum of energy consumption. The hospital, breeding research facility and nutrition center will require the most energy and are positioned to take advantage of the southern sun to bring in light and a sense of open air. Other areas programmed for camping, pasture and outdoor activities will require only physical maintenance. Solar (or other alternative energy) technology and respected hours of operation can help mitigate costs, but the challenge lies in the horses themselves, who require very specific environmental conditions to maintain stress levels and physical wellness. The design of the site takes advantage of both the site’s large acreage and Memphis’ hot climate, utilizing eothermal systems to condition large volumes within the buildings. The edge conditions where hard environments of the proposed structures meet soft infrastructure of the greater landscape are opportunities to balance performance and aesthetic.