Tucson, Arizona

CDG Architects conducted an extensive program analysis in close concert with El Rio Community Health Center to determine the specific needs of staff and patients, including desired organization of physical spaces, privacy levels, safety concerns addressed by current medical codes, and security.

Designed for an urban site on the northwest side of Tucson, this masonry building is bold and contemporary in appearance. Two “tower” structures with dramatic curved metal roofs, visible from anywhere on this city block, call out the building’s multiple entrances. Contemporary iron detailing is strategically placed to enhance interest in the façade’s bold massing.  A decorative and functional screen wall, with visual openings onto the parking area, draws visitors into the sheltered entryway.  This shaded, landscaped space serves three entrances to the building (one for Pediatrics, one to the Lab and Pharmacy, and one to Internal Medicine). The two reception areas located within the tower structures are dramatic interior spaces – high, curved ceilings give a sense of spaciousness, decorative wood beams contribute an organic quality to the space and cool, contemporary colors are highlighted by warm, attractive lighting.  Clerestory windows contribute natural lighting to the lobby.

One entrance is provided for each physician specialty group in order to simplify circulation into and within the facility.  Centralized reception and nurses’ stations allow the Pediatrics and the Internal Medicine departments to share resources and contribute to efficient workflow.  The Pediatrics and Internal Medicine wings terminate at the centrally located Medical Records department.  The Pharmacy and Laboratory services are also centrally located and have a separate exterior entrance.  Exam rooms in each wing are organized in “pods” - three exam rooms to each doctor with nurses’ desk is located adjacent.  Concentration of services within each pod makes the most efficient use of the space; doctors also have immediate access to nurses and computers when needed.  The Pediatrics department has a separate "isolation" entrance from the exterior.  Patients with the possibility of contagious illnesses are swiftly brought to this removed area, complete with separate toilet facilities and hand washing sink.

For the benefit of staff members, there is an exit to a private outdoor courtyard adjacent to the staff lounge.  Conference room space allows for large staff meetings and other gatherings in a pleasant “out of the way” location. Building service needs are conveniently met at the rear of the building with exterior entrances for service personnel such as mechanical technicians, biohazard service personnel and El Rio maintenance staff.
Principal Architect Frank Mascia FAIA, ACHA
Owner/Client El Rio Community Health Center
Contractor BFL Construction Company, Inc.
Date Completed July 2004
Size of Project 11,900 SF New Construction
Construction Cost $1,506,592
Cost/Square Foot $127
Photos by Ron Medvescek