Riverside Health Center
New York, NY
42,000 SQ FT
Year and month completed: December 2014
Project Owner: New York City (NYC) Departments of Mental Health & Hygiene and Design
Architect: 1100 Architect
Artist: Richard Artschwager
Sustainability + Lighting Consultant: Atelier Ten
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman AssociatesMEP Engineer: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
Cost Estimator: Stuart-Lynn Company
Expeditor: William Vitacco Associates
Landscape Architect: Quennell Rothschild & Partners
Civil Engineer: Macdel Engineering
Vertical Transportation Systems: Van Deusen & Associates
Audio Visual Consultant: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Food Service Consultant: KDS
Redefining the potential benefits of a health facility, the design team of the Riverside Health Center (Riverside) aimed to use the building to promote the health of visitors and staff. Built as part of the city’s Design Excellence Program, Riverside re-envisions how the design of a building can support the physical and mental health of its users. From the outset, the design team collaborated with several city agencies on the development of architectural solutions that encourage physical activity, which eventually played a role in developing the Active Design Guidelines and the LEED Innovation Credit, “Design for Active Occupants.”
Riverside was transformed from a deteriorating 1960’s building into a vibrant community health center. Given its central location and proximity to housing developments and public amenities such as a library, fire station, school, playground, and park, the building’s façade and exterior spaces were designed to contribute to the pedestrian environment. The design team refurbished the façade and upgraded the landscaping to contribute to a sense of vibrancy and openness in the surrounding public spaces. The highlight of the façade design is the skin of orange terra-cotta tiles that wrap and visually locate building’s main stairwell. This feature was designed by artist Richard Artschwager, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program. Artschwager creatively highlights the stairwell, making it an essential part of the building’s outward identity.
The design strategies used in the building’s interior were largely focused on brightening rooms and corridors with new finishes and larger windows, and reorganizing building programming with simpler circulation paths. Space for employee respite is provided through a green roof garden.
Riverside offers a wide range of services, which are managed by the city’s Department of Health. Sample services include training courses run by the NYC Health Academy, free maternal and childhood health programs run by the Nurse Family Partnership, health and preventive services provided to public school students by the Office of School Health, an STD clinic, and access to primary care. An on-site auditorium also serves as an emergency operations center for Manhattan. By transforming and enlivening the building programming, infrastructure, and appearance, the Riverside project demonstrates how a health facility can genuinely expand its capacity to promote health.
Active Design Highlights