Archtober Building of the Day #27
Riverside Health Center
160 West 100th Street
Among my favorite things about Archtober are the enthusiasts who show up and add color and detail to the architects’ stories about their projects. Today, in addition to a solid performance by 1100 Architect’s Juergen Riehm and Dominic Griffin, we were amply blessed with a number of locals, or, as Winifred Armstrong self-described, “camp followers.” Sally Yap of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene also supplemented our understanding of this new renovation project.
The Riverside Health Center, originally designed in 1960 by Harry M. Prince, Architect and opened in 1964, is a handsome, three-story brick and terra-cotta building with aluminum strip windows that is among several civic buildings built in the superblocks created by Robert Moses’ post-war slum clearance on the Upper West Side. It doesn’t even seem like Manhattan up there, between the vast parking lots, the ample playgrounds, small scale civic buildings, and the swath of towers in the park—some notably designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the 1950s for William Zeckendorf. The building houses the educational component of the city’s food safety program, a sexually transmitted diseases clinic, community facilities, and offices.
A bright orange terra cotta-clad corner marks the entrance, and it turns out that it is a Percent for Art installation by artist Richard Artschwager.
It’s on the inside, too, adding additional color to an already cheerful interior stair. Both of the interior stairs have been fancied up to entice people to lower their blood pressure by eschewing the elevators. Glazed brick, vertically oriented in bright shades of mango and yellow, makes the stairs positively delightful—and even visible through the two-hour-rated fire glass doors. Active Design takes center stage!