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Elmira Psychiatric Center 21, View - Geriatric Dwelling Unit Exterior Court
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Elmira Psychiatric Center 21, View - Geriatric Dwelling Unit Exterior Court
Elmira Heights, Chemung, New York, United States (inhabited place)
Award - The design received an award in the 1970 annual design competition of Progressive Architecture. It was cited for “avoiding institutionalism and for keeping with the neighborhood environment.” The jury described the hospital as “an open, precisely designed cluster of connected units designed to function as a single entity yet establish a sense of integration with the community. The integral parts are related though a common courtyard yet become part of the larger environment by the treatment of the building forms and external spaces along the streets.”
Design a 300-bed psychiatric center to interrelate with the adjacent urban community, consisting of new and existing residential areas, and other health related facilities. The project includes treatment units for inpatients and outpatients of all ages – children, adolescents, adults and geriatrics - as well as educational and recreational facilities, administrative offices and support facilities. Both in-patients and out-patients, as well as the public are free to move throughout all exterior spaces of the complex.
Socialization at various levels within the complex was carefully planned in a direct effort to counter patients’ possible feelings of isolation and alienation. Within each dwelling unit, the basic human need for privacy is met through private bedrooms. Each bedroom has a large window looking over the central exterior space and is furnished with sofa/bed, desk, chair, bookshelves, and lockable wardrobe unit. Near the bedrooms are small socialization alcoves, each offering a secure place for up to eight persons to gather. These alcoves, near the central stairs, overlook the larger areas below devoted to group activities. Thus a sequence is provided that allows a patient to see from one space into another and make choices before entering a new situation. The dwelling units are designed for low-profile staff monitoring – there are no nurses’ stations or obvious security control points. This encourages integration of staff and patients and promotes the individual’s growth and rehabilitation. Openness is achieved between spaces and through the integration of the interior spaces and the exterior spaces. The program elements--dwelling units, support facilities [including cafeteria, classrooms, theater and sports facilities], as well as the administration--surround an open, green, common space. The dwelling units, each with its own entrance, are on the two residential streets and the primary entrance and administration building are on the street that includes other major health facilities. A large play field separates the complex from a major vehicular artery.
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Project Title
Elmira Psychiatric Center 21
Project Type
Project Owner
New York State Facilities Development Corporation
Image Title
View - Geriatric Dwelling Unit Exterior Court
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