Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

FCA transformed Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s campus with a modern design, integrating healthcare needs with urban planning elements such as sustainable features and community-focused enhancements.

  • area / size 80,200 sqft
  • Completed 2024
  • Embarking on an extensive project to update and expand its 11-acre campus, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center tapped architecture, design and planning firm FCA to lead the 80,200-square-foot transformation. The revitalized space, encompassing a 24,300-square-foot addition and a 55,900-square-foot renovation, underscores the facility’s commitment to serving the surrounding community with an increased capacity to provide state-of-the-art care. Ultimately, the plan achieves a dynamic hub that unites culture, commerce, recreation and healthcare.

    The medical center’s updated lobby is aimed at both increasing openness and catalyzing community engagement. A two-story addition, predominantly consisting of a glass curtain wall, transforms the entrance into a beacon along Lyons Avenue. This softened facade increases transparency and connectivity with the surrounding area. As guests enter the space, they are greeted by a bright, expansive area with a neutral palette and rust-toned accents, lending to a clean aesthetic and tranquil atmosphere. Exterior stone brought into the interior creates continuity, further inviting the community into the space while clearly defining circulation paths. Visible from the building’s exterior, a monumental staircase incorporating Sensitile resin panels, accompanied by a custom light fixture, stands as the eye-catching centerpiece of the lobby. Located directly beyond the entry, readily accessible patient and visitor amenities include an updated welcome desk and central registration area, in addition to future café area and gift shop spaces.

    A one-story addition increases the Emergency Department’s ability to accommodate patient volume (ED), in addition to the two-story lobby refresh, while a separate three-story addition expands existing departments on each floor. The updated Emergency and Surgical Departments, alongside a new state-of-the-art Critical Care Unit (CCU), boost the facilities’ overall capacity for providing care. Outside of the emergency department, a protective canopy shields visitors from the elements at the entrance, with new lighted bollards to illuminate the entry. The exterior focuses on creating a welcoming and transparent environment, while simultaneously preserving patient privacy through the use of textured glass.

    Moving into the facility, neutral interior finishes for walls and flooring are complemented with subtle pops of color, highlighting key locations in the ED, CCU and Diagnostic Imaging suites for ease of navigation. A more traditional palette with soft blues and contrasting dark wood tones was implemented in the Administrative Suite to create a calming atmosphere. Customized headwalls were designed for the ED and CCU, in addition to custom footwall millwork throughout the departments that accommodate unique room configurations (while creatively hiding laundry and trash receptacles). In each department, nurse stations with clear sight lines and glass partitions are tailored to improve visibility for staff and patients. Sustainability was also a priority for the renovation, with low-flow bathroom fixtures, low-VOC paints and automated window treatments implemented to conserve resources.

    Capitalizing on FCA’s expertise in urban planning, the exterior and surrounding streetscapes have also undergone a remarkable transformation. Formerly separated by stark walls and fences, the design team softened the campus boundaries to integrate the hospital within the surrounding neighborhoods. “Pocket gardens” provide refreshing breaks along city blocks, adding over 50 trees onto the property, while contributing to rainwater absorption and reducing runoff into storm sewers. Thoughtfully planned lighting at the hospital’s dedicated bus stops also enhances visibility for greater nighttime accessibility and security.

    Additionally, a plaza was added to the corner of Schuyler and Lyons avenues, near the entrance to the Frederick B. Cohen, MD, Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Benches and luscious greenery adorn the expansive plaza, serving as a focal point for visitors and the surrounding community. The surrounding streetscapes were designed with the new main entrance in mind, offering improved traffic circulation to enhance pedestrian and vehicle access to the main lobby. These enhancements demonstrate the hospital’s ability to serve as both a leading healthcare provider and an inviting public space for the community.

    Completed in April 2024, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s renovation successfully blends innovative healthcare design with progressive urban planning principles to promote quality care and community engagement. FCA’s thoughtful approach to revitalizing the medical center, enhancing inclusivity and more holistically integrating it into the surrounding area, has simultaneously improved the system’s physical footprint and cemented its role within the community. The new center will strengthen connectivity with adjacent residential areas and the urban environment, fostering a sense of community within the neighborhood, ultimately providing residents with a bastion of healing ingrained in the city’s urban fabric.

    Design: FCA
    Photography: Jeffrey Totaro