One of the last remaining surface-level parking lots in Brooklyn’s new booming Cultural District will not be replaced by a rental tower, hotel, or even a cultural venue, but by a health center for unionized hotel workers. The 12-story, 180,000-square-foot, structure is being constructed for health provider, The New York Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of New York City, Health Benefits Fund, Health Center (HCI). The organization’s new home at 620 Fulton was designed by Francis Cauffman and is not your rudimentary medical facility–either in its form or its function.
The structure has a curved, glass facade that wraps around what the architects describe as the building’s “teardrop” shape. Its skin consists of alternating fins and frits that together create the impression of waves. “The idea is that the relationship of the frits and fins dematerialize the wall a little bit and give the building an ambiguous surface,” said James Crispino, president of Francis Cauffman.
From the street, colorful interior spaces on the structure’s lower floors can be seen through the waves of the facade. The architects also planned for a mural to cover the structure’s south-facing wall and carved out a public plaza that fills-in part of the site. A restaurant and retail space are slated for the ground-floor while upper levels are reserved for office tenants. A setback on the sixth-floor creates space for a terrace. The plan, explained Crispino, was not just to create a space for HCI, but a mixed-use, 24/7 building that contributes to the community.
HCI occupies 65,000 square feet of the structure with a state-of-the-art, patient-centered operation. In hopes of treating 85 percent of patients within an hour, the facility does not have traditional waiting rooms or even physician’s offices. When visitors arrive at the lobby, they sign-in at a kiosk and are printed out a slip that directs them to the appropriate floor or department.
The medical floors have clear, one-way circulation patterns and shared workspaces for physicians and nurses. An on-site pharmacy is designed to further expedite the process. The facility also includes “multifunction spaces” that can be used to host workshops and classes on healthy lifestyles.
Crispino said that the layout and design of HCI’s interior spaces are similar to what you would see in a prototypical office geared towards startups and creative firms: colorful walls, multi-purpose spaces, open meeting areas, and an overall environment that emphasizes the use of technology.