Woodlawn Friend Health Center breathes new life into an underutilized space to provide comprehensive care in Chicago’s South Side.
The one-stop center serves as an extension of the community, housing a wide range of integrated health and wellness services that are typically dispersed among independent facilities.
Virtually indistinguishable from new construction, Friend Health Headquarters demonstrates the adaptive reuse potential for overlooked properties, and their ability to establish community well-being and health equity in medically underserved areas.
Standing as a vibrant model for accessible, community-based healthcare, the one-stop center houses a wide range of integrated health and wellness services that are often dispersed among independent facilities.
A Welcoming Gesture
Once an unapproachable, recessed building frontage, the addition introduces a contemporary blend of transparent glazing and metal cladding to create a welcoming entry that captures the outreach spaces, community classrooms, and vertical circulation. Punched openings were created within the existing brick veneer walls to introduce much-needed daylight throughout the program.
The design team was able to achieve more with less by using readily available materials in unexpected ways to transform the facades, create new interior elements, and optimize the healthcare service layout to enhance patient satisfaction.
Recognizing that patients are often stressed when visiting medical providers, it was essential that first-time visitors could easily understand the facility and how to engage with its entry points. This led to a design that necessitates two front doors; the tower addition to the east engages the public transit stops, while the new porte-cochere to the west accepts patient drop-off and entry from the parking area.