Architecture and Rehabilitation: How Architecture can be Rehabilitative for its Patients, for its City

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Virginia Tech

This building serves as a rehabilitative center for patients in recovery from mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI). It is located on the Columbia Medical School and New York Presbyterian Hospital campus in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The building is designed with three goals in mind: to provide a safe and healing environment tailored specifically to the needs of the patients; to provide a positive working environment for the doctors, nurses, and staff who care for the patients; to provide a space for the public to find healing of their own.

Patient rooms are broken up into three stages - dark, intermediate, and light - that encourage a slow and gentle reintroduction into the world. Staff areas are designed to allow in natural light, easy access to the outside, and privacy away from patients that allow the caregivers a space to recover and find moments of revitalization. The roof, open to the public, lifts upward toward the Hudson River and allows an unobstructed view of the Hudson River Greenway, the Hudson River, and Fort Lee, New Jersey. In a neighborhood of overworked doctors and staff, family members visiting sick loved ones, and residents of an urban environment this roof overlook provides a rehabilitating view of a rare natural environment.

The following words, sketches, and drawings attempt to convey the process, structure, and poetry of the building.

rehabilitation, occupied roof, courtyard, public access