Project category: Project in Progress (May 2010)

Chief administrator: John Palmer, PhD, Executive Director, (212) 939-1340

Firms: Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum, Inc., (212) 741-1200; Studio JTA, (718) 742-6791

Design team: Lead Architect, Hellmuth Obata + Kassabaum, Inc.; Associate Architect, Studio JTA

Total building area (sq. ft.): 180,000 (new); 110,000 (renovation)

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $700 (new); $300 (renovation)

Total construction cost (excluding land): $126,000,000 (new); $33,000,000 (renovation)


The ambitious expansion and modernization of Harlem Hospital Center will increase state-of-the art services to the Harlem community and its surrounding neighborhoods. The scope of work includes a new patient pavilion and the renovation of key nursing and clinical units in the Martin Luther King Pavilion. The plan calls for the integration of inpatient, emergency room, and outpatient services to increase the quality of patient-centered care.

A key component of the plan is to construct a new building that will connect the Martin Luther King and Ron Brown buildings on the site. This new patient pavilion will be a new centerpiece for the complex and will house the hospital's new emergency department, linked to state-of-the art diagnostic and treatment facilities on the upper floors, including imaging, surgery, and critical care beds.

A new atrium lobby will link all major components of the campus and will provide access to all modes of care in a clear and friendly manner. The plan for Harlem Hospital Center integrates innovative healthcare planning and design excellence with a design that expresses the vibrant history and present culture of Harlem.

The design creates a new front door for the hospital on Lenox Avenue and preserves and highlights the WPA murals from existing buildings that were slated for demolition. The restored mural images were incorporated into the building's architecture at the scale of the building's 80-foot-high façade. The revitalized facility presents a new image that will engage the Harlem community.