inspired, comfortable, functional building design

Northern Dutchess Hospital Birth Center
Northern Dutchess Hospital
Rhinebeck, NY

Northern Dutchess Hospital retained Optimus Architecture to design renovations and a small addition for their Neugarten Family Birth Center ten years after the facility opened as a model ‘natural childbirth’ family birth center.  The hospital had only a few needs: refinish the interior appearance, add a family sitting room and a birthing tub, and improve the HVAC system.  Their budget was $500,000.  However, the facility was very modest, unattractive with relatively unsafe access.   The original entrance to the Birth Center had been a raised concrete platform with steps with a handicap ramp, all open to the weather. This was a hazardous situation for maternity patients, particularly during the icy winter months. The brick facade was plain and institutional looking. The awning added sun shading but was not well integrated into the building design.  This was a one time chance to address all of these issues.

Optimus Architecture saw an opportunity to create a more welcoming and patient friendly entrance. Rhinebeck has many Victorian farmhouse style bed & breakfasts that provided inspiration for the new addition. The challenge was to create a similar appearance that looks like wood construction, yet meets the higher classification and building codes for hospitals. This was accomplished by using cement board clapboard, light gauge metal framing, metal roofing, and metal railings. The new addition incorporates a
more gracious entrance, wheelchair ramp, and separate family waiting room. The generous porch area provides a friendly outdoor environment for new mothers and their families during warmer weather.

Optimus Architecture designed the interiors applying all new millwork, vinyl wall coverings, and floor finishes to create a “hospitality” image sympathetic to the local ‘bed & breakfast’ style. The remodeled nurse station and work area provide a concierge image. Corridors were enhanced with marble pattern VCT bordered by wood look vinyl flooring, coordinating oak handrails, vinyl wall coverings, and new wall sconce light fixtures. The typical patient room has been transformed from an plain institutional surrounding to a more comfortable guest room environment. A new integrated wardrobe, wood veneer gasses cabinet and oak over-bed light valence mask the harsh impact of the institutional fixtures. Wood look vinyl flooring, oak chair rail and vinyl wall coverings warm the room and are complemented by the floral bedspread and window valence. A new birthing tub room  provides an alternative to mothers who prefer a water birth. It is located between two patient rooms to provide flexibility. The room finishes are suitable for the wet activity and maintain a residential atmosphere.

This project earned a national VISTA award in 2002 at the annual AIA ASHE Planning, Design & Construction conference in Previous Facade Orlando, FL.

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