AIA Healthcare Awards
by Brian Libby
When Providence Health & Services hired Mahlum to design a new clinic on the north side of Portland, Oregon, the architects saw a familiar formula, and looked beyond it.
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"All the rest of their clinics have red brick," recalls Anne Schopf, a principal at Mahlum. "We really wanted to create a new face for them, a new attitude."
Through an expansive glass facade, the resulting Providence North Portland Clinic reveals its function and engages a busy streetscape. The clinic was one of three projects honored in the 2009 American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Healthcare Design Awards.
Administered by the AIA's Academy of Architecture for Health, the awards showcase outstanding healthcare building designs that address aesthetic, civic, urban, and social challenges, as well as the requisite functional and sustainability concerns of healthcare facilities. In addition to the Providence clinic, another Portland project was honored, at Oregon Health & Science University. Also recognized was an unbuilt cancer research and treatment facility in Wilmington, Delaware.
Clinic in North Portland
The Providence North Portland Clinic is located on a major thoroughfare through a gentrifying working-class neighborhood of Portland. The architects sought to create a clinic that would be "easier to build, more cost effective, light and airy, fresh and welcoming, and would give Providence a new look," says Rick Potestio, a Portland architect who worked on the project at Mahlum and has since left the firm.
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