"Humboldt Park Health" Interior Design Renovation Overhauls the Health and Well-being of Northwest Chicago Region

Humboldt Park Health, formerly known as Norwegian American Hospital, is a 100-year-old building located in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican neighborhood. It is a critical safety net healthcare provider whose mission is to provide high quality, compassionate, and affordable health care services by partnering directly with patients, families, employees, physicians, and the communities served. To establish a clear direction for the health and wellness of the community, the Wellness District Master Plan provides recommendations for land use, development, transportation, growth, urban design, the Hospital’s investment, and overall quality of life. As part of the project which has six-phase approach to development and redevelopment spanning the next 10-15 years, the 100-year-old building was renovated to create a well-functioning, safe, and sustainable environment.


Photo credit: Maria Monteagudo, JGMA

The interior renovation project by JGMA, represents a critical first step in a Wellness District Master Plan, with the main objective of completely rethinking the health and well-being of area residents.


Photo credit: Maria Monteagudo, JGMA

JGMA planned and designed the renovation and reimagination of the lower levels and functions within, specifically related to patient care, visitor flow, and wayfinding. The project consists of over 25,000 sq-ft of work, split into 22 individual phases, and seeks to create a warm and welcoming environment reflecting the quality of the care provided within, as well as defining a cohesive wayfinding strategy throughout the first floor.


Photo credit: Maria Monteagudo, JGMA

The interior transformation includes new floor, wall, and ceiling finishes to brighten and enliven the interior environment through a bold and expressive introduction of color, as well as to provide clear wayfinding for patient access to the various programs throughout the hospital. Creation of new partitions and demolition of existing barriers in various clinical areas, including the emergency department, seek to reshape programmatic adjacencies and to better promote the identity of wellness and privacy for all.


Photo credit: Maria Monteagudo, JGMA

Careful introduction of transparent and translucent materials assists in promoting openness and privacy simultaneously, while providing opportunities to tie the hospital back to the culture of the surrounding community through the introduction of local art and imagery of nearby landmarks. The introduction of a dynamic ceiling treatment throughout the corridors is meant to both define the various program area throughout the project, and to shape the logic of signage and wayfinding to ensure that it is both welcoming and easy to understand.


Photo credit: F.H. Paschen

The project phasing needed to be compartmentalized into smaller portions to allow the hospital to maintain day-to-day operations without interruption during the course of construction, as the hospital is an active safety-net facility that provides critical services to its surrounding community. Due to the prioritization of hospital operations, these phases often divide corridor, clinic, and waiting room areas that flow directly into one another, and the order of operations has changed over time due to the ever-evolving needs of the end users.


Photo credit: F.H. Paschen

About JGMA

Founded in 2010, led by president Julian Gabriel Moreno, JGMA is a progressive architecture and design practice committed to active community involvement and the enrichment of peoples’ lives through the attentive and dynamic organization of space and materiality. The firm understands that quality design has a unique ability to influence civic life and transform communities.

The focus of their work has been in Chicago’s diverse communities, where each of the typologies that they work on faces similar challenges of public architecture and its representational character. They proudly work in community areas that are unaccustomed to receiving architecture of quality; places where people feel forgotten; neighborhoods where neighbors feel like they are not cared for. JGMA believes that every design scenario is unique and that each project be approached with a solution tailored for that community. They intend to reflect and project the values and personalities embodied in those who will ultimately utilize these spaces daily. JGMA always tests and researches ideas for the sake of making innovative, appropriate, and unique solutions for the betterment of people’s lives.