Sitting on a 4-acre site in southwest Austin, TX, the new National Headquarters of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is a contemporary work of architecture showcasing natural stone and tile on both the exterior and interior. The design of the new 34,000-square-foot, three-story structure, which is the non-profit’s first owner-operated facility, focuses on health and well-being and allows for expansion and flexibility in the future.

Designed by Studio8 Architects of Austin, TX, the National Headquarters of the AANP is a modernized version of a previous project in the firm’s portfolio. “AANP came to us,” said architect Taylor Hardee, AIA of Studio8 Architects. “They saw a previous project in our resume. It was an office building that the owners had a natural attraction to -- everything from stone and the other materials had a genesis there. As with most of our projects, we try to modernize them. That was kind of the introduction for the stone. Our partner-in-charge, Paul Detke, put a lot of effort into how to write the specifications so that with the owner they could select the right stone variation.”

The specification for the stone requested a white or cream-colored limestone with a 3- to 5-inch nominal thickness chopped block, sawn on the top and bottom. The height was specified between a nominal 4 to 8 inches. The stone was intended to be installed in a random ashlar pattern with light-colored grout.  

In the end, Texas Cream limestone was the stone of choice for the new AANP headquarters. The material adorns a portion of the exterior facade, as well as the interior lobby wall.

“The building has a lot of Austin, TX vibe to it,” said Hardee. “We were attracted to its warmth and regional connection. We crafted the specification to what we felt was a more contemporary version. The language helped us call out the color variations that we didn’t think fit the palette.” 

Complementing the limestone and wood that was also used in areas of the building’s design is a palette of varying tile collections. The tile pieces were employed for flooring and wall applications in various rooms. 

In addition to accommodating offices for more than 60 staffers, the new AANP headquarters also includes an all-hands room, conference rooms, a board room and a staff workroom, as well as a coffee bar, a fitness room and a third floor break room with access to outdoor seating on the terrace. With an emphasis on interior walkability both horizontal and vertical – the spaces flow between offices along the perimeter and collaboration zones. Ancillary seating allows for opportunities for casual interaction. Additionally, a central stair in the lobby is the main public vertical circulation, with additional stairs at each end providing easy movement between offices, conference rooms, storage and break amenities for staff. The traditional office design vocabulary is modernized and reinterpreted through the use of color, natural light and texture, creating a fresh and compelling design, according to the Studio8 Architects design team. 

Work on the new building commenced at the end of 2014-beginning of 2015 and reached completion, on track, in the beginning of 2017. Hardee explained among his favorite parts of the project are the top of the stone pieces on exterior applications. “I love the detailing where we allowed it to be capped with a metal plate instead of a typical capstone piece where you thicken it up,” he said. “I like that the stone has this kind of monolith crisp clean edge. It feels like it elevates it more. It says it is a regional stone, but a very special regional stone.”