Renovations to Health Center #2
Client: Department for Public Health, City of Philadelphia
Master Plan to improve functioning and amenities for patients and staff. Currently documenting full interior renovations, new Electronic Health Records system, energy upgrades including replacement of exterior windows and doors, and infill of atrium spaces. (Read More)
Health Center 2 was built in the 1960's. The building shows respect for patients and staff through the incorporation of natural light and clear planning principles. However, over the years the buildings have come to be much less welcoming to patients and less functional for staff, primarily as a result of increased patient demand, but also because of the disregard for energy costs that characterized architecture in that era.
Health Center 2 is part of a fine complex in South Philadelphia that also includes a library, a recreation center and a public plaza, all directly adjacent to a subway stop. The current project will improve the professional setting for medical personnel, improve performance of the building envelope, replace an archaic HVAC system and enrich the interior with three new clerestory spaces created by enclosing unused and unattractive courtyards.
The original intent of the project was only to improve the building envelope and to capture the courtyard areas for functional indoor space. The second goal turned out to be more complex that expected by the City, as the prospect of added space led to questioning of the efficiency of the Center. The architects were asked to add an in depth programming and conceptual design phase that included basic analysis of the culture and functioning of the whole facility.
Several recommendations emerged from research and interviews with staff. The primary one was to provide spaces that would improve the quality of the time doctors spend with patients and at the same time allow them to see more patients. Transitional spaces turned out to be as important as purely functional spaces, as the provide buffer zones between activities and create a more professional setting for the hard-working doctors.
At the same time, the engineers showed the Department the extent to which the antiquated HVAC system is costing money and failing to provide an even comfort level throughout the building; the Department is currently looking for funds to replace the system. The project is currently at the end of Design Development, awaiting additional funding.