Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed January 2012)

Chief administrator: Michael N. Rosenblut, President and CEO, (718) 289-2351

Firm: Tobin Parnes Design, (212) 462-4200

Design team: Carol Tobin, Principal; Robert Parnes, Principal; Tim Kincer, Project Manager; Andrea Reay, Interior Designer; Joanne McGevna, Interior Designer; Scott Press, Assistant Project Manager

Photography: Vanni Archive

Total building area (sq. ft.): 291,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not available

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not available

Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation is a highly acclaimed non-profit that offers inpatient short term rehabilitation, sub-acute care and nursing home care as well as a comprehensive network of community health services.  Parker is a leader in teaching and research and for years has been at the forefront of innovations in patient-centered care and technology that will help shape the future of adult health care.  As advocates of the culture change movement and principles of evidence based design, Parker’s care and understanding extends wholeheartedly to their residents, staff and care givers alike.

Over the last eight years, Parker has been re-envisioning many aspects of their facility.  They have introduced a new family lounge, a new meditation space, new administrative areas, a new building entry and lobby as well as a new hemodialysis center.  In late 2010, Parker envisioned a new executive area where they could re-organize formerly disparate departments into an efficient and unified whole.  A new architectural layout eliminated unnecessary double corridors and transition space in order to create new larger, more efficient departments as well as additional conference rooms and much needed support areas.  Clear and straightforward way-finding directs residents and their families to the Admissions and Social Work Services Department and other resident support areas.  The overarching project goal was to create a warm, welcoming, and modern environment that appealed to the senses through the use of natural and durable materials, direct and indirect lighting, and a well thought out attention to detail.

Current research in quality improvement has guided all of the decisions made for this project. The objective was to create a safe, appealing and uplifting environment that conveys a sense of wellness for all. Concepts of creating lively healing environments are important for PJI’s management as well as residents. Evidence based design supports the creative use of lighting, color, texture and representational art as key communication tools that underlie a positive emotional experience and better health/work outcomes. Natural elements and soothing water sounds remind us to breathe and reduce stress.

To ease the transition from the main lobby entrance, a central corridor and custom water feature act as the primary focus point to all of the newly renovated spaces.  Within the corridor, visitors are met with multi-media displays that convey not only Parker’s successful history from its beginnings in 1907 but it’s current and future patient care goals.  Parker’s programmatic requirements highlighted the need to maximize floor area and creatively organize departmental adjacencies. The goal was to layer a variety of finishes that would ease the transition between different programmatic areas and still provide clear way-finding with a sense of welcome and exploration.  Clearly defined floor and ceiling details work together to create an inherent way-finding system while still providing a modest level of excitement.  Direct and indirect lighting enhance wood wall details, a seating area, and help guide the eye through the space.  A judicious use of glass maximizes the amount of natural light which filters through to the interior work areas.  Glass walls were introduced at the central conference room and clear side lights were used at all office doors to express Parkers sense of openness and commitment to operational transparency.  To reduce the institutional nature of an administrative office wing, separate lobby entrances were created for the resident support areas and the employee support areas.  The Admissions Department evokes a warm residential living room to ease the tension often felt by families and prospective residents.  The selection of various warm woods throughout was used, not only to continue the design language developed throughout the entire facility, but to enhance Parker’s emphasis on providing culturally enriched living and its commitment to its staff.  Overall, the environment and ambiance was designed to reflect Parker’s humanistic and reassuring mission of promoting wellness, modern health care design principles, and ongoing evidence based research.