Through detail-oriented restoration and adaptive reuse, three historic buildings in downtown Holyoke have become a comprehensive medical mall that provides quality healthcare for the city's underserved population and acts as an economic engine for this low-income neighborhood. The architect and Holyoke Health Center's (HHC) shared design vision creates a high-caliber facility for a poor population, which was formerly served in scattered, low-quality spaces. The design seamlessly connects the previously rehabilitated Maple Building with the adjacent High and Dwight Buildings into one cohesive medical center.

Although the initial plans for the complex called for modernization of the exterior and interior of the buildings, the need for additional federal funding, granted through historic restoration credits, caused the client to modify its approach. Given the building's location within Holyoke's architectural conservation district, the architect and the client saw it as imperative that the buildings retain original features. The results of extensive research were used to painstakingly reconstruct the buildings' former facades.

Accompanying the innovative restoration of HHC's exteriors, carefully refurbished interiors provide an active and inviting base for the center. A linear glass atrium connecting the three original buildings floods the center with natural light, creating a soothing atmosphere and establishing seamless, efficient wayfinding for users of the complex.

The completed HHC responds to the needs of downtown Holyoke residents by creating an estimated 350 new jobs, offering patient-education and research areas, and housing flexible office space for local physicians providing related medical services.

Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed December 2004)

Chief administrator: Jay Breines, Executive Director, (413) 420-2110

Firm: Steffian Bradley Architects, (617) 305-7100

Design team: Stephen Van Ness, AIA, Principal-in-Charge; Sal Davola, AIA, Project Manager; Susan Dean, Designer; Janis Luedke, Interior Designer (Steffian Bradley Architects); Rick Schmidt, AIA, Project Architect (formerly of Steffian Bradley Architects)

Photography: © Robert Benson Photography

Total building area (sq. ft.): 110,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $145

Total construction cost (excluding land): $16,000,000