Healthcare facilities geared to men are few and far between, especially compared to women’s or children’s specialty centers. So when NYU Langone Medical Center decided to open a new outpatient clinic in Midtown Manhattan dedicated solely to the Y chromosome set, Perkins+Will knew it had a rare opportunity to do something special.

But first the firm had to address the reality that many men typically don’t see a physician until there’s something really wrong. “I think men want to exude a sense of being strong,” says Ted Shaw, senior designer at Perkins+Will (New York). “But they can be quite vulnerable when they do get sick, since they often don’t acknowledge their symptoms early on.”

To overcome this barrier and create an environment where men would feel comfortable in both sickness and in health, the design teamed used a series of details—from wool and newsprint wallcoverings to pops of color to fritted window glazing—to craft a “strong yet vulnerable” aesthetic.

The 15,000-square-foot Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health, which opened in January 2014, earned top honors in the Ambulatory Care Centers–Medical Practice Suites category and overall Best of Competition in the 2014 IIDA Healthcare Interior Design Competition. “The character of the clinic is sophisticated, restrained, and highly consistent throughout,” one juror noted.

Shaw says ambulatory facilities have more flexibility with design, since the layouts don’t have to accommodate patient rooms and large amounts of support corridors. “It frees up the architecture to be more expressive and tailored to the patients themselves, not the operations,” he says.

The new NYU clinic houses 17 exam rooms, 11 consultation rooms, and a range of services, including cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, internal medicine, and neurology. Recognizing that the location on Madison Avenue between East 55th and 56th streets would be attractive and convenient to Midtown’s white collar workforce, the design team used a cross between a medical office space and a high-profile corporate office as a starting point and then drew further inspiration from clothing boutiques, VIP lounges, and country clubs, to craft a sophisticated yet relaxing environment.

“It’s wasn’t just visual; it was a tactile expression,” Shaw says. “Everywhere you interface with the site, there’s a warm, tactile material.”

For example, the facing on the reception desk is large-format porcelain tile with a stone imprint that resembles white matte marble. A wood countertop keeps patient security and registration devices out of site and reduces clutter, while curved pieces of stainless steel serve as a visual cue directing patients to each transaction area.

To reduce anxiety, glazed doors are used between the patient waiting areas and clinical corridors, with most of the corridors ending with views to the outside.

Shaw says the facility further bucks convention by carrying the tailored details from the public waiting spaces to the clinical and staff spaces. For example, exam rooms feature wood-clad doors, abstract artwork, and color accent walls. To reduce the clinical feel of the space, Shaw says he pared down medical accessories and recessed storage cabinets and counters into the wall to reduce the visual impact.

“These subtle details and the accretion of them really add up to a different type of environment,” he says.

Anne DiNardo is senior editor of Healthcare Design. She can be reached at


Full list of winners

Ambulatory Care Centers–Outpatient Clinics

Best of Category
Legacy ER Allen, Allen, Texas
5G Studio Collaborative, Dallas

Ambulatory Care Centers–Medical Practice Suites

Best of Category
Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health, New York
Perkins+Will, New York

Honorable Mention
Mercy Health Wege Institute for Mind, Body and Spirit, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Progressive AE, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ambulatory Care Centers–Medical Office Building Public Space

Honorable Mention
U.S. Air Force Postgraduate Dental School & Clinic, Lackland AFB, Texas
Hoefer Wysocki Architecture, Leawood, Kan.

Hospitals–Community/Academic/Teaching Hospitals 

Best of Category
Mercy Health West Hospital, Cincinnati
AECOM, Minneapolis, with Mic Johnson, lead designer, and Champlin Architecture, Cincinnati

Honorable Mention
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Los Angeles
SmithGroupJJR, San Francisco


Honorable Mention
Toronto Birth Centre, Toronto
LGA Architectural Partners, Toronto

Senior Living & Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities–Community-Based Service Facilities

Honorable Mention
SKCPH Kent Center, Kent, Wash.
Buffalo Design, Seattle


For more on the IIDA competition, check out this interview with Cheryl Durst, vice president and CEO of IIDA: "Q&A: Interior Design Trends For Healthcare."