We share with many in our community a concern about the area’s new downtown hospital: it has to be done right.
Thousands of patients, employees, visitors will frequent the hospital and Downtown Utica, so the topic of “fit” or integration into the neighborhood is an important one. But it is not new to our project. Other cities, other groups have been down this road before.
For example, The “nonprofit Congress for the New Urbanism’s Health Districts Initiative aims to help hospitals take part in creating livable, walkable neighborhoods. The approach is about looking at a healthcare system or facility and making sure it’s designed in a way that’s not contributing to the poor health of its surrounding community—thinking about it programmatically to draw in a mix of uses with a focus on the community interface.”
And, as our own hospital has said more than once, this attitude is uppermost in the minds of the architects involved in the Downtown Utica medical center design that will serve the region for decades to come. The design of the project and its integration into the neighborhood is an “opportunity to do a building in a way that’s going to make it feel like it blends in, but then also raises the overall environmental character of its setting as a whole,” as architect Ryan Hullinger told the OD a few months ago.
The fit and “an understanding of how projects fit into their sites,” as the OD writer summarized, is the architects’ priority: “Don’t expect a cookie-cutter hospital or a hulk at war with its surroundings to be built in downtown Utica.”