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Partners Organizations and those involved

a project of the Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Development Corporation

in partnership with Tulane University School of Medicine, Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy

with the cooperation of the Tulane City Center

with the firm TZ.CO

Contents New Orleans East Louisiana Community Health Center







4 6 8 11 20 29

Vision A new vision for healthcare

Introduction Creating a sustainable community health center

Site Reconnecting a neighborhood

Phase One Embedding cultural specificity in architecture

Phase Two Defining a culturally specific and sustainable landscape

Acknowledgments Our thanks

Vision A new vision for healthcare

The mission of the Mary Queen of

To meet the anticpated needs of the

Our vision is to identify and eliminate

Our goal is for the community members

Viet Nam Community Development

population, MQVN CDC will develop a

the unique health disparities of

to take ownership of their health, and to

Corporation (MQVN CDC) and the

Community-owned Health Center which

the residents of New Orleans and

remain empowered through knowledge,

Tulane School of Medicine is to build a

will provide comprehensive health

beyond. The residents will be provided

understanding, and acceptance, of

neighborhood-based Community Health

services to all, irrespective of insurance

with quality, culturally competent,

personal responsibility for their health

Center for the medically underserved

status or ability to pay. The goals of this

comprehensive primary and

and wellness. This will be done through

community of New Orleans East.

health center are to:

preventative health care services.

health education programs, preventive

The health center will provide

care, and outreach programs. Health

comprehensive primary care to 15,000 citizens in the community irrespective of ability to pay. The largely Vietnamese-American community of New Orleans East was underserved pre-Hurrican Katrina and has had ongoing unmet health care needs post-Hurrican Katrina. The lack of primary care services impedes the return and recovery of the community - particularly the elderly and families with young childen. The health needs of the community are now increasingly unique because of the influx of the Latino workforce.

Right, Text description of this lady.

+ Establish high quality and culturally appropriate health services catered to low-income, working, or uninsured/ underinsured families. + Address social determinants of health by establishing relationships with existing health and social services and building community collaborations.

Because of the dense population of

services will be provided to the

Vietnamese and Latinos in New Orleans

uninsured, underserved patients

East, the health center will address the

with private insurance, as well as the

diverse cultural and linguistic needs

inclusion of a sliding scale payment

of the community. The whole of these

option. The Community Health Center

parishes includes African-Americans,

will provide high-quality, cost-effective

Anglo-Americans, Asian-Americans,

primary and preventative care to the

and Latinos.

residents of New Orleans East and beyond.

Introduction Creating a sustainable community health center

We have identified a location for the

of Architecture faculty member,

permanent health center on Chef

Thaddeus Zarse and his office TZ.CO.

Menteur Hwy near I-510, an accessible

The proposal is developed as a two

location for the neighboring population

stage development with Phase I

and others since it is near the highway

consisting of the 5000 sq ft renovation

at a visible location. The building, a

of the existing building and site

former post office, will be renovated

modifications. Phase II consists of the

into a quality, state-of-the-art 5000 sq ft

proposed 10,000 sq ft addition projected

health facility. As the population in the

for construction in three years. The

area continues to grow, and given the

design of each phase of the project

overwhelming need for health services

creates an environmentally sustainable

in the community, we anticipate needing

and culturally specific design. The

more space in the future. Thus, in year

Phase I design process included

three, we will construct an additional

interviews with the clinic staff so that

10,000 sq ft building adjacent to the core

the design would be as specific as

site to allow us to provide more services

possible to their needs and the way that

to more people.

they use the space.

MQVN CDC in partnership with the Tulane University School of Medicine is collaborating with the Tulane City Center (TCC) to develop the following proposal with Tulane University School

Left and Right, these images show the existing exterior and interior conditions of the post offi ce building located in New Orleans East on Chef Menteur Hwy.

Site: New Orleans East Reconnecting a neighborhood


1a City Map, this drawing locates the New Orleans East Louisiana Community Health Center within the larger city exposing the neighborhood’s lack of easy access to current health care options.

The health center will be located on

are medically underserved affordable

Chef Menteur Hwy in New Orleans

and accessible health care within their

East. This location is easily accessible

own neighborhood. The Phase I and

to citizens living in the community

Phase II proposals take advantage of

and surrounding areas. The site is

the opportunities presented with such a

near the I-510 and is also near canals

dynamic site location and its variety of

that separate it from residential

context relationships.

neighborhoods. The location in New Orleans East allows residents who

Left, New Orleans Block Map courtesy of the Lime Agency for Sustainable Hot/Humid Design

Phase One: New Entrance Embedding cultural specificity in architecture



Above, 2a. Trong Dong Drum. 2b. Top of Drum

Phase I for the New Orleans East

specific patterns to be embedded in

the taller bamboo at the front breaks

Louisiana Community Health Center

the design. The pattern used is from

up the facade from the exterior while

starts with the renovation and

an ancient Vietnamese brass drum

screening views of the busy commercial

adaptation of an existing post office

named the Trong Dong, which holds

street from the interior of the lobby

building turning it into a sustainable

historical importance for the local


and culturally significant health clinic

Veitnamese community members. The

for the community of New Orleans

pattern is multiplied across the length

The landscape design utilizes plants

East. The act of renovating an existing

of the building creating a dynamic

native to Vietnam to increase the

unused building in the neighborhood,

perforated pattern in the metal screen.

cultural specificity of the center while

returning it to the community, conveys

The pattern, while being specific to the

ensuring the the selection is suitable for

a strong commitment to environmental

Vietnamese community, tries to also

growing in the often similar Louisiana

sustainability by not creating large

be culturally inclusive to all community


quatities of building waste that would

members by not making the design

result from tearing the building down to

a cultural stereotype of traditional

build new.

Vietnamese architecture.

As part of the process of adapting the

The site around the former post office

post office building to a health center

is also redesigned to allow for more

a new image of the building is created

landscape to be embedded within

redefining its purpose. A metal screen

the parking. This serves severals

is added to the front of the building

functions including making the

which not only formally evens out the

entry to the clinic more inviting and

mass, but also allows for cultural

welcoming for patients and staff while

Right Rendering, this digital image shows a new facade screen and landscape which creates an inviting, cultural specifi c, and sustainable new entrance to the health clinic.

Phase One: Building Planning Redefining the existing conditions

The fl at roof of the existing post office

patients versus staff members. The

building allows for easy positioning

landscape is strategically placed to

of solar panels to create a further

help define entries to the building while

sustainable approach to the design.

simultaneously controlling views out of

The parking and landscape are

the site.

reconfigured to allow separate parking zones and entrances to the building for

Above Site Plan and Right Axonometric, the drawings show overhead depictions exposing the relationship of the existing building to the new site plan and landscape.

Phase One: Interior Renovation Maximizing opportunities within an existing building 3a








Plans, 3a. Ten room variation. 3b. Phase II expansion variation.

Left Rendering and Above Plans, the image and drawing shows the openness and close proximity of the clinic staff with the patients and exam rooms allowing for direct connections and interactions between users.

Phase One: Building Section Developing opportunistic interior interventions












Above Section 4a, this drawing shows a section cut through the existing building exposing the dynamic space of the exam rooms and the building’s integration with the site and landscape.

Phase One: Exam Rooms Maximizing spatial and sustainable opportunities and connecting patients with light

The existing post office building is

natural light or view to the exterior. To

resulting space creates a visual funnel

predominantly comprised of a very

counterbalance this spatial inequality

directing the attention towards nature.

large and tall space. While this space

the exam rooms extend to the full

The room shape can also be designed

works well for the sorting of mail it

height of the center space creating

to produce ventilation through the

poses difficulty in its conversion to

small punctures in the roof that allow

rooms through the stack effect pulling

another building use. The exam rooms

patients a small framed view of the sky

hot air to the top of the room releasing

are nested in the center of the space,

above while allowing some indirect

it through a small vent near the roof.

thus initially perceived to receive no

natural light into the space. The

Left Rendering, this images shows an example of an exam room where light and view is attained through a skylight allowing each room to have a connection to nature while maintaining privacy.

Phase Two: New Entry Court Defining a culturally specific and sustainable landscape


Phase II for the New Orleans East

overwhelming to non-Vietnamese staff

Louisiana Community Health Center

and visitors.

includes planning for a 10,000 square feet addition proposed at the rear of

The entry of the building is located

the existing clinic building. As part of

through a landscaped courtyard space

the master plan for the site additional

that allows for a gradual raise in

parking and landscape is added to

elevation from the parking preventing

continue the creation of sustainable,

the building from flooding and giving

culturally specific, and beautiful design.

the entry an easily accessible and welcoming appearence, rather then

Above, 5a. Horizontal thatch construction

The addition employs spatial strategies

one that appears too raised. The

utilized in the interior of the existing

landscape design within the courtyard

clinic building. These continue to allow

and embedded in the parking utilizes

dynamic spaces while allowing natural

plants native to Vietnam to increase the

light and views for every space. The

cultural specificity of the clinic while

building’s exterior material, rendered

ensuring the the selection is suitable for

as a metal panel, allows for reflectivity

growing in the often similar Louisiana

reducing the heat gain of the facade

climate. Water features embedded in

while allowing for little maintenence.

the landscape not only act as point of

The panels are organized horizontally

interest, but also perform as water

with a thatch texture to reduce the scale

rentention cisterns and filtration beds

of the building and recall historical

to reduce reliance on the city’s sewer

Vietnamese structures. This detail


allows some cultural understanding of the building without being

Left Rendering, this digital image shows a new entry courtyard located behind the existing building that leads to the phase II new building entrance lobby.

Phase Two: Building Planning Creating a collective campus whole with individual masses

The Phase II addition utilizes a

and allows for the interior space to be

technique of clustering together several

broken by different spatial conditions.

smaller aggregates to create the whole.

Areas are also left void to allow for

This technique, visually reminiscient

internal pergolas allowing light and air

of densely clustered villages, breaks

to reach the deep building mass.

down the larger mass of the building

Above Site Plan and Right Axonometric, the drawings show overhead depictions exposing the relationship of the existing building to the new phase II building with the integration of landscape and courtyards.

Phase Two: Internal Courtyards Connecting interior program with exterior space

The Phase II addition creates several

These also shade the space from the

courtyard spaces within the building.

sun much of the time while still allowing

These allow for increased light and

for indirect light into the interior spaces.

air into the building while allowing for

The exterior spaces will be designed to

visitors and staff to have views outside

adjoin interior programs allowing for an

of the building. The design of each

openness and transparency between

courtyard differs to create varied areas

interior and exterior. This physical and

in the health center which also assists

visual openness to nature is known to

in wayfinding within what are typically

produce a calming effect on potentially

confusing complexes. The pergola

nervous patients.

within the courtyards defines a spatial volume framing a shape similar to the masses found in the buildings clustered shapes.

Left Rendering, this digital image shows a trellised outdoor courtyard space within the new building allowing easy access from the inside to outside spaces.

Phase Two: Building Section Connecting the old with the new












Above Section 6a,this drawing shows a section cut through the entire length of the site, displaying the existing buildings connection to the phase II addition to the clinic.

Acknowledgements Our thanks to ...

Reseach and Design Team

Mary Queen of Viet Nam Community Dev. Co.

Thaddeus Zarse

Mary Tran

Advising professor + Principal of TZ.CO

Executive Director

Joseph Keppel

Diem Nguyen

Tulane City Center Intern

Health Center Project Manager

Rebecca Miller

Christina Wadhwani

Tulane City Center Intern

Health Outreach Coordinator

Scott Berger

Tulane City Center Intern

Tulane City Center

Tulane University School of Medicine Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy

Scott Bernhard


Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH

Vice Dean Dan Etheridge

Associate Director

Leah Berger

Director Emilie Taylor

Senior Program Coordinator

We would like to thank everyone for their assistance, coordination and continued efforts in the development of New Orleans East Community Health Clinic visioning project.

New Orleans East Community Health Center  

This document was put together by Tulane School of Architecture faculty member and Principal of TZCO, Thaddeus Zarse, in collaboration with...

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