Riverside Health Center's next-door neighbor is a 106-year-old Lutheran church, the only building within 32 acres to survive the wrecking ball of notorious New York planner Robert Moses as part of a huge slum-clearance project in the 1950s. The health center, on the other hand, sprang up in the early 1960s in the demolished Upper West Side neighborhood once known as Manhattantown. It was a low beacon among the new high-rise housing developments. Designed by Harry M. Prince, Architect, the H-shaped, three-story brick and terra-cotta structure, which comprises a library within its east wing, was one of many public amenities designated for the revitalized neighborhood; just across the street, a similarly set-back '60s-era building contains a police precinct headquarters and firehouse.

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Riverside dutifully served the community—which remained mainly low-income—for over 40 years, but by the start of the new century was in need of a revitalization of its own. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene selected 1100 Architect through the Department of Design and Construction's Design Excellence program to modernize the deteriorating 36,000-square-foot facility.

While the New York– and Frankfurt-based firm had completed numerous renovation projects, this was its first health-care facility. The program here was unique as well, taking into account the needs of various entities including the Nurse Family Partnership, a nurse-led maternal health and home visitation program for first-time mothers; the NYC Health Academy, which provides training in food safety where certification is required; and a clinic for sexually transmitted diseases.

1100 did away with the old layouts to accommodate the new and returning tenants' expanding needs and to simplify circulation. While a second elevator was installed, so was a second stairway, and its use is encouraged through signs bearing aphorisms—“When you go up, your blood pressure goes down,” for instance. A handsome windowed area in the rear portion of the second level, with low office furniture, permits views of trees and the historic church. The enlarged cellar—crawl space was excavated with light wells for additional offices and storage—includes an employee fitness room, and a community room variously used as an emergency command center for the Department of Health, or for breastfeeding seminars and similar lectures and gatherings.

The reception area and hallways feature resurfaced terrazzo, while floors in offices, exam areas, and classrooms are covered in end-grain wood tiles. Finishes are bright and cheery. “We selected durable but playful materials,” says 1100 principal in charge Juergen Riehm. In particular, colorful tiles in staircases and along select walls complement the bright orange exterior terra-cotta on the stair tower near the entrance. (The late artist Richard Artschwager, who was engaged through New York's Department of Cultural Affairs' Percent for Art Program before 1100 began, selected the cladding.) “We were happy to design around the new terra-cotta,” says Riehm. The rest of the facade was also spruced up—brick was replaced and repointed as needed, and exterior lighting and stainless-steel railings installed.

Sustainable design strategies were incorporated to meet the city's requirement that the new facility be certified LEED Silver, at minimum. It is on track to exceed that. Double-hung windows were replaced with tilt-turn ones. Daylighting and efficient LED and fluorescent fixtures, some controlled by occupancy sensors, provide illumination. An upper-level addition includes a green roof and brise-soleil to control solar gain inside the new space's classrooms.

For New York, a revamped Riverside represents a continued commitment to communities in need. For 1100 Architect, which recently began working with the NYC Parks Department on recreation centers in Brooklyn and the Bronx, the facility represents a turning point in the firm's focus. Says Riehm, “It is part of our longer-term vision to do more projects that affect larger groups of people.”



NYC Department of Design & Construction and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene



NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene



1100 Architect
475 10th Avenue New York
NY 10018
Tel: 212-645-1011
Fax: 212-645-4670

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Juergen Riehm, FAIA, BDA, Partner in Charge
Texer Nam RA, Project Manager
Ellen Martin RA, Project Architect
Dominic Griffin, Senior Designer
Designers: Daniel Agustinus, Emily Chang-Zidarov, Timothy Furzer


Architect of record:

1100 Architect


Interior designer:

1100 Architect



Structural Engineer: Silman

M/E/P Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering

Civil Engineer: Matrix New World Engineering



Landscape: Quennell Rothschild & Partners

Lighting: Atelier Ten

A/V Consultant: Shen Milsom & Wilke, Inc.

Sustainability Consultant: Atelier Ten

Kitchen Consultant: KDS Consulting & Design, Inc.

Exterior Consultant: James R. Gainfort, AIA Consulting Architects PC

Artist: Richard Artschwager

Health Care Consultant: Perkins Eastman



Nikolas Koenig (415) 845-6919



36,000 square feet


Construction cost:

$28 million


Project cost:



Completion date:

December 2014


Structural system
Existing reinforced concrete structure. We used steel frame and metal deck for the addition.

Exterior cladding
Masonry: Boston Valley Terra Cotta Terra Cotta/Belden Brick Masonry Restoration

Rainscreen: Boston Valley Terra Cotta - TerraClad

Moisture Barrier: Vapor Permeable Air barrier: Henry Company Airbloc

Other cladding unique to this project:Cast Stone Coping: Continental Cast Stone Coping

Built-up roofing: Siplast

Other: Green Roof: Siplast/Zinco USA

Metal frame: Northern Building Products, Inc

Glass: Solarseal Company

Entrances: Kawneer Storefront

Metal doors: LIF Industries

Wood doors: Bamboo/ Algoma Hardwoods, Inc

Fire-control doors, security grilles:SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions

Locksets: Schlage

Closers: LCN

Exit devices: Von Duprin

Pulls: Sugatsune

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings: Baswaphon

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:Bamboo reception desk

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams

Wall coverings: Polyflor

Plastic laminate: Pionite

Solid surfacing: Dupont Corian, Dupont Zodiaq

Special surfacingEpoxy Terrazzo: Terroxy TM Supply

Floor and wall tile: Ceramic Wall Tile at Stairs/Hallways/Bathrooms:Wizard Enterprise

Resilient flooring: Lonseal

Raised flooring: Endgrain Wood Flooring: Oregon Lumber

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Wood Ceiling: Rulon International

Office furniture: Herman Miller

Reception furniture: Herman Miller

Chairs: Herman Miller

Tables: Coalesse

Interior ambient lighting: Corelite, Bartco, Focal Point, io Lighting, Louis Poulsen

Downlights: Edison Price, Wila Lighting

Task lighting: Alko

Exterior: Bega

Elevators/Escalators: Leistritz

Accessibility provision: Lift: Garaventa Lift

Urinal: Toto Low consumption
WC: Kohler
Toto: Faucet

Energy management or building automation system: BMS System

Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Fire-rated glass doors at fire stairs to encourage use of stair as part of active design initiative: SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions