Manhattan's first freestanding emergency department a result of adaptive reuse

The Lenox Hill Healthplex, a restoration of the Curran O’Toole Building, has glass-block walls and a carefully preserved exterior.

November 24, 2015 |
Adaptive reuse utilized to build Manhattan's first freestanding emergency department

Chris Cooper Photography/Courtesy Perkins Eastman.

Manhattan’s first freestanding emergency department, the Lenox Hill Healthplex in Greenwich Village is the result of a sensitive restoration and adaptive reuse of the once-endangered Curran O’Toole Building, a maritime-inspired structure designed in the early 1960s by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Albert C. Ledner.


Building Team: Perkins Eastman (submitting firm, architect); North Shore–LIJ (owner); JLL (owner’s representative); Robert Silman Associates (SE, façade consultant); Bard, Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers (MEP); Turner Construction Company (contractor)
General Information: Size: 160,000 sf. Completion: July 2014. Delivery method: design assist

The building’s interior was stripped down to the bones, while the exterior was carefully preserved and updated. Its newly restored circular glass-block walls flood the ground-floor ED with natural light—an unusual feature in ED design—and the removal of portions of a previously-added second floor created an uplifting double-height space.

The tight urban site and outdated structure posed a number of thorny issues for the team, such as: accommodating emergency vehicle drop-off (solution: carve out a portion of the ground floor to make way for an ambulance bay without disturbing the façade); adding surgical functions (solution: reinforce the existing structure to meet vibration standards on the surgical floor and roof, and cut new shafts for ventilation); maintaining security (solution: minimize entrance points, maximize sight lines, lighting, and cameras); and delivery/storage of medical supplies and food (solution: transform the below-grade garage into space for support services).

The upper floors, currently under construction, will feature medical offices, walk-in imaging services, ambulatory surgery, orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and health and wellness services.

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