For the project, RHD teamed up with daSILVA Architects and general contractor Unity Construction Development, both also located in New York. The space required a design that not only added efficiency and functionality but that also held an aesthetic at the level expected by the prominent doctor's celebrity patients, ranging from a legendary rocker to a master architect.
The reception desk inside the neurology office incorporates marble and stainless steel into the design while also fitting basic ADA requirements for height.
The resulting $500,000 project was completed in January 2010.
Working with the space
One of the challenges inherent to the project was the size of the office itself. Within just 2,500 square feet, the design team needed to accommodate six exam rooms (including two acupuncture rooms), the doctor's own office, a business office, staff and tech workspace, as well as a waiting and reception room. The office was also located on the ground floor of a residential building in Manhattan, a fact that brought with the project a new set of rules and restricted the team's work schedule.
While improving efficiency was the primary goal of the project, the creation of the maximum number of exam rooms presented a challenge. The team was limited in how far it could take the effort.
“It is financially more feasible to have as many exam rooms as possible. But at some point, the plan is no longer functional. Working with architect Jon Whitney, of daSILVA Architects, we were able to achieve a nice balance of the right amount of exam rooms with an appropriate size to accommodate wheelchair-bound patients and still maintain the natural flow of the plan,” Hershkowitz says.
Creating individual staff space at the new location was also a priority.
“In the former office, staff used to congregate at the reception desk. Now, all staff have their own workspace. When you give the staff their own workspace, it improves efficiency and creates a better working environment,” she adds.
Creating the concept
As part of the serene environment RHD was charged with creating, the client requested that there be a feeling of light flooding into the space. Although there is a wall of street-facing windows, the amount of light that filters into the space is reduced due to an overhang. So there was a need to devise another way to achieve this goal. The installation of a glass wall panel system on the corridor walls complete with barn door closures on each exam room provided the solution.
“With limited use of sheetrock construction, the corridor walls were created with the white glass wall panel system. This was a very bold decision on the part of the client because it is a very different approach. Usually, this kind of wall panel system is used in administrative areas of medical facilities. Exam rooms are a rare application. It was the perfect choice in helping us achieve the goal of letting light flood through the interior space. The patients seem to like it. They appreciate the airy, modern feel,” Hershkowitz says.
Combining aesthetics and functionality
The glass wall panel was one of several ways RHD weaved in aesthetics while also meeting goals for well-used space. In order to create a timeless environment, the firm next turned to the color palette.