Location is critical for wellness facilities like Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center, whose mission is to provide top-quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare services for residents of West Haven and the surrounding area. So when a conveniently located, former funeral home became available, architecture, art and advisory firm Svigals + Partners took on the challenge of converting the building into an inviting heathcare setting for the community that also meets the stringent requirements to be a Federally Qualified Health Center or FQHC.

“The West Haven Clinic is the latest enterprise in our ongoing collaborations with the Cornell Scott-Hill Center, resulting in at least eight new or updated healthcare service locations,” says architect and partner at Svigals + Partners, Doug Lovegren, AIA. “We believe deeply in the center’s commitment to making healthcare accessible to the underserved and to bringing multiple services under one roof.”

Lovegren’s team worked with their client to identify a viable site that would replace an older clinical space they had outgrown. Meeting space requirements for the planned service offerings, 410 Campbell Avenue, presented an ideal location – centrally located, and on a local bus route – but also some challenges. Because many members of the community were familiar with the dark brick building and its mansard-style roof line, it was anticipated its architecture would continue to be associated with funerals, says Lovegren.

“Plus, the building was set back from the street, and with deep canopies and overhangs it had a dark, foreboding aspect even in broad daylight,” says Lovegren.

Svigals + Partners set out to reinvent the structure, with the goal of changing local perceptions of the site while making it ready for providing medical care including pediatric, and behavioral health care. The architects removed the faux-mansard roof applique, covered the brick with a light-colored stucco with a subtle textural pattern, and erected a new canopy over the entrance finished in steel and wood that beckons passersby, “like a hand reaching out in welcome.”

“The canopy establishes a new professional identity for the building, projecting a warm, inviting character and an approachable human scale,” says Lovegren. The waiting room adds to the arrival experience, too: Glazed walls and doors let sunlight stream in, which creates an airy, spacious feel when combined with LED lighting, wood-look flooring, and a glass screen wall with a foliage-inspired etching.
Inside, the full-gut renovation splits the 10,000-square-foot program by floors: At street level, visitors access medical and dental offices while behavioral health programs are located in the newly refinished basement, which also contains an employee break room. The architects incorporated a new egress solution for the basement to ensure compliance with safety codes and installed a lift between floors for full accessibility.

“We’re proud of our continuing collaboration with Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center. Under the leadership of CEO Michael Taylor, the organization is truly committed to a holistic approach that addresses each patient as a person with dignity, not just a set of symptoms or a future federal reimbursement,” reports Lovegren. “We hope to continue working with them to build their brand and serve our local community.”

For more information and interviews, please contact Karen Maserjian Shan, 845-522-4737 or karen@ccsullivan.com.

Images: Robert Benson Photography courtesy Svigals + Partners