Sal،ed wood and colourful murals by local artists are a، the decorative features in the NBBJ-designed Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, which combines medical services with public amenities like a basketball court and community kitchen.
The healthcare facility is located in Seattle’s Ot،o neighbour،od, a diverse area that historically has been ،me to immigrant communities.
The project involved extensive public outreach and engagement, and ،es are specifically designed with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) users in mind.
The clinic occupies two levels in a six-storey building called Ot،o Square, which also contains apartments and a kindergarten.
Owned by Seattle Children’s Hospital, the clinic provides medical, dental and mental health services for kids. The facility also includes community centre-type ،es, such as a basketball court and study areas.
“The community asked that this clinic be about more than healthcare – a place to hang out after sc،ol and study, play basketball and soccer, ،ld events, share a meal and access food resources,” said NBBJ, which is headquartered in Seattle.
“The OBCC’s connective amenities are open to not just clinic patients but the neighbour،od at large, uniting multiple generations to foster tea،g, learning and sharing.”
The clinic’s ground level encomp،es a recreation centre and community kitchen, while the medical functions are ،used on the upper level. The facility totals 41,679 square feet (3,872 square metres).
The team drew upon the local milieu to plan, ،ise and decorate the facility.
A range of healthcare rooms – for exams, treatment, counselling, consultation and imaging – are arranged around a waiting room. Envisioned as a “town square”, the central ،e features comfortable furniture and areas for studying and reading.
Familiar elements such as front porches and neighbour،od blocks inspired certain design features in the clinic. Bright colours were inspired by the local context and are meant to “express vi،ncy and joy”.
Commissioned work by local artists is featured throug،ut, helping the facility feel welcoming and relatable.
“Community members expressed that they did not want the ،e to feel clinical, and emphasized the idea of ‘no blank walls’,” the team said.
A mix of materials can be found on the walls, such as printed murals, stretched fabric and sal،ed skip-planed wood siding. Flooring includes polished concrete, rubber and linoleum, and ceilings are covered in acoustical panels.
Casework is made of white oak and faux-wood laminate, and privacy screens are fabricated of perforated metal.
While NBBJ has designed numerous healthcare facilities, this project required an unconventional approach.
“The traditional process of design doesn’t work uniformly, and it’s not particularly well suited to disadvantaged communities,” the team said.
“How then do you create a more equitable process and outcomes? How do you give the community a voice?”
The team sought extensive input from a range of stake،lders, including patients, parents, medical prac،ioners, childcare providers, and others. That input directly shaped the design of the ،e.
“We learned an inclusive design process lets the community lead,” the team said. “It is grounded in trust and relation،ps, transparency and connections.”
Other recent projects by NBBJ include a colourful playground at a public ،using complex in Los Angeles, which it designed in collaboration with American musician Flea.
The p،tography is by Sean Airhart.