NEWYORK-PRESBYTERIAN CENTER FOR AUTISM & THE DEVELOPING BRAIN
The NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Center for Autism & the Developing Brain project included the renovation of an existing historic gymnasium, built in 1924 and designed by Grosvenor Atterbury. The new facility will be used for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of outpatients with autism.
The main gymnasium space was designed as a “treatment village” with flexibly-outfitted activity and consultation rooms that can be used by small children and toddlers as well as by adolescents and adults. Activity spaces are arranged in groupings with distinct three-dimensional shapes with roofs and doors and windows opening into joint circulation zones within the larger day-lit space. Color, size, shape, texture, and light are all used to create active spaces and provide a wayfinding tool for patients and families. A healing garden, large windows, and brightly painted roof trusses enliven this activity/treatment area.
The building’s unique distinction of having landmark status for both the structures and the landscape made the design challenging. The original landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, had to be removed, regraded, and restored for handicap accessibility. Historically inaccurate components were replaced with period-correct elements. The existing wood roof trusses were exposed and refinished.