Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital

Reinvigorating a Medical Campus to Heal a Community

Hospitals can be intimidating—especially the ones with an inner city address. But for this South Los Angeles neighborhood, a hospital is reborn. Now shining bright in a neighborhood that has struggled for years to erase its negative image, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital is helping this community rediscover its cultural and historical significance. After closing its doors in 2007, the original medical center has a new future that includes the reinstatement of the community hospital with a renovation and build-out of the five-story inpatient tower, a new emergency department, diagnostic and treatment services and related support functions, and a new entry building.

Since economically challenged communities often receive poor design, our design solutions prove that aesthetically pleasing, effective design doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We used smart design to expedite and improve patient care by reorganizing the flow of the emergency department—creating a designated fast track area for low acuity cases and separate, more comfortable bays for higher acuity cases. We introduced a warm color palette and special finish materials including terrazzo floors, marble and granite, and solid surface plastics to make the hospital feel more welcoming and less institutional. To improve patient healing and recovery, and staff performance and morale, we incorporated natural daylight and cityscape views. The new entrance is the focal point of the building’s façade and is comprised of new metal panels and blue-green glass, renovated precast concrete with tinted glass, and a new ribbon-like steel and glass canopy. What stands is a beautiful, efficient hospital that would be as at home in Beverly Hills as in South Los Angeles.