CrescentCare Community Health Clinic

JOHN P. KLINGMAN IS A REGISTERED ARCHITECT AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF ARCHITECTURE, TULANE UNIVERSITY WHERE HE SERVED ON THE FULL TIME FACULTY FOR 35 YEARS.

A rather audacious, compelling new building has opened on Elysian Fields Avenue near North Claiborne. It provides a wide array of health and wellness services to a New Orleans population not served by more traditional medical care systems. The new center, brings together more than 200 staff who were previously housed in locations around the city. It brings a wide range of amenities to a previously sleepy stretch of the city’s widest boulevard that has not been well served with medical facilities. Its three-story height, strong forms and blue color bring new energy to the neighborhood; yet the scale of the project is not overwhelming.

From the street, the building holds visual interest and provides legibility. This is true inside as well, an extremely important aspect of promoting well-being for people engaging medical facilities. The building occupies a full city block with much of the ground floor providing parking. There are three entrances from the avenue; one provides access to the Hope Community Credit Union. Another provides direct, discreet access from the street to preventative services; and the central entry leads to a main stair and elevator that take one up to the departments on the second and third floors. Perhaps counterintuitively, the major public clinic functions are on the third floor. Upon arrival, the logic of this design concept becomes clear. The heart of the building is a “Main Street” that extends through the full length of the building from front to back. It is a generous circulation space, with a linear daylighting monitor that pops up the roof, providing ambient light. At the Elysian Fields end there is a large public waiting and reception zone, and along the Main Street are entrances to a multiplicity of clinics; at the far end is a staff zone. At both ends of this space are large windows that connect and orient those inside to the neighborhood.

In the diagnostic and treatment areas, exam rooms are organized in a system that separates access for staff and patients. This is innovative and indicative of the clarity and intelligence that pervades the design. On the 2nd floor are other departments that provide patient support including a pharmacy and legal services as well as a community meeting room. Chief of Staff Alice Riener notes that staff members are appreciating the new space, and clinic CEO Noel Twilbeck calls the building “wonderfully functional.” A final inspiring element is the ongoing installation of over 200 donated artworks, choreographed by local gallery owner Arthur Roger.

Gould Evans Architects; Robert Riccardi, Martin Tovrea, Curtis Laub, Jenny Renn Key, Brian Webber, Elaine Damico

See the full article at MyNewOrleans.com.

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