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A Cut Above
A Cut Above
Delugan Meissl’s transformative take on a top surgeon’s clinic in San Francisco.
Amy Verner

Doctor Jordan Deschamps-Braly received architect Roman Delugan’s renderings for his San Francisco office in early 2017, during a requisite pause from one of his all-day surgical procedures. ‘I’ll never forget, there was this attachment on my phone that wouldn’t open,’ he recalls. ‘I just knew it was going to be something really cool.’

Now a reality, the space is a radical departure from the typical doctor’s office, with its complex slatted wood panelling, an even more complex floor fabricated in Austria, noise-reducing acoustics, a reconfigured layout of darkened rooms – and even a custom scent.

Deschamps-Braly, a highly respected craniofacial surgeon, describes the outcome as ‘within plus or minus a half per cent’ from Delugan’s initial plan. The extraordinary precision, subdued beauty and intimate ambiance reflect the approach of both architect and doctor: ‘It was very important to us to incorporate these central ideas of precision, authenticity, transparency and openness into the design,’ explains Delugan. ‘We very consciously sought to avoid associations with a sterile clinical space.’

Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA), a Vienna-based firm, ordinarily works on high-rise towers and institutional buildings. Deschamps-Braly, a keen collector of design magazines, was a fan of one of the practice’s early residential projects, House Ray1 (2003, see W*62), an angular, high-drama domestic addition to the top of a 1960s office block in Vienna.

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November 2019