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Projects • University of Tennessee at Memphis, College of Pharmacy Building

University of Tennessee at Memphis, College of Pharmacy Building

Memphis, Tennessee

After being located in six separate buildings, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Pharmacy merged their facilities into one building. Located in the Memphis Medical Center, this 191,000 SF building houses lecture halls, classrooms, research labs, conference rooms, office, and student space.

The building is separated into two distinct uses: office and education/research, which are physically separated into a single-bay-wide 6-story office complex and a two-bay-wide 7-story laboratory, research, and education tower. The two building components are joined together with a full-height atrium and linked at each floor with three full-bay “bridge” components.

The building is situated on the east end of the UTHSC campus on property previously occupied by the Baptist Hospital Physicians Building (circa 1920). The site was confined on three sides by an existing access drive and utility corridor, a new plaza and service dock, and an existing access drive to the plaza service dock. These limitations, as well as the grade change across the existing site, necessitated the design to incorporate a basement under the first floor to allow on-grade deliveries under the plaza level and a split-level west entrance. The existing soils on-site were not adequate to resist the loads from the 7-story building using conventional footings, prompting our structural engineers to employ auger-cast reinforced piles extending 50 FT into the soil.

During construction of a temporary retaining wall, a previously unknown existing gas line was discovered, and its proximity to the basement walls and associated steel stair framing necessitated a revision in the foundation walls supporting the west entrance. The solution was to relocate the foundation walls below grade and support a two foot, 8- inch square grade from a cantilevered portion of the retaining wall. This grade beam provided a foundation for the above-grade steel framed entry without affecting the exterior appearance and functionality.

In effort to keep on schedule, SSR provided the RAM structural model used in the initial creation of the detailing model and in coordination with the final construction documents. This allowed the steel fabricator to identify and resolve conflicts prior to fabrication and erection. This level of cooperation and coordination between the project team limited issues and changes facilitating a smooth construction process.

The completed College of Pharmacy adds a new research, education, and economic engine to the UTHSC campus and Memphis Medical Center, helping Memphis epitomize the city’s vision to be “the city of choice in which to live, learn, work, and play.”


  • University of Tennessee

Project Completion

  • 2011

Awards & Distinctions

  • City of Memphis Engineer’s Award for Excellence, 2012


Project Size

  • 185,000 SF

Service Provided