Esperanza Wellness Center

  • area / size 26,000 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • JGMA was tasked with designing a necessary and thoughtful healthcare space with Esperanza Wellness Center in Chicago, Illinois.

    Esperanza Wellness Campus envisions a world where community residents will be served regardless of immigration status, race/ethnicity, income or insurance, and will be able to realize their full potential through optimum health. Therefore, this new facility materializes the client’s mission and vision through a playful and modern façade. Esperanza was intentionally designed to stand out, serving as a beacon of hope and health to the Brighton Park community.

    Esperanza—meaning hope in Spanish—is living up to its name.

    The building resolves a significant challenge in the wellness typology. Too often these building types are disregarded in minority communities and result in facilities that lack resources and dignity. The result is a contemporary community health center providing critical services which was extremely needed in the southwest area of Chicago. To overcome barriers faced by underserved communities, Esperanza has culturally diverse and bilingual staff.

    Esperanza serves as more than a healthcare facility, it serves as a meeting place for the community. The outdoor walking and community garden spaces fosters community interaction by welcoming and supporting the growing student population that surrounds this site. The ground floor has been designed to draw in visitors to the building, blurring the interior and exterior. This flowing and open lobby plan, at the most predominant corner of the site, has become the central and vibrant hub of the facility.

    The new building transforms a brownfield site from an unyielding concrete slab, into a canvas of orange prismatic color shifting panels, perforated by a pattern of rhomboid windows all above the continuous glazing ringing the ground floor entries.

    Connecting the building’s two floors is the main circulating staircase. As an architectural centerpiece, uses color and visual movement to lead patients from the entry lobby up to the second floor. Using warm and expressive colors that weave into the spatial design to create intuitive wayfinding for patients and visitors. The open work areas for medical caregivers and providers are designed with large walls of glazing to harvest natural light while visually connecting to the people and neighborhood.

    Inside visitors find Mujeres Latinas en Accion (MLEA) services, a community pharmacy, a large multipurpose room, cooking classes to educate healthy eating and nutrition values, as well as other educational activities that promote health.

    The neighborhood was suffering a primary health care desert before Esperanza Wellness Campus was built. It is the building that this community needs to heal, flourish and feel supported. By teaming up with local specialty care and community-based organizations the new facility houses comprehensive healthcare and utilizes forward-thinking design to attract and unite the surrounding community.

    Architect: JGMA
    Contractor: Skender Construction
    Photography: courtesy of JGMA