Design Excellence Awards

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Small Healthcare Design Excellence Award
Presented to Kirksey
Legacy Community Health
Houston, Texas

Project Description:

Legacy Community Health is located in the historic Fifth Ward of Houston, dubbed a “health care desert” by local Houston media for its location in an under-served part of the community. With a limited budget and a focus on community art with an eye toward a bold aesthetic, the design uses simple methods to achieve dramatic results.

The two-story clinic features a full pharmacy, lab, OBGYN and pediatric unit, general practice, dental suite, vision suite, behavioral health suite and 20+ exam rooms.

This project was designed on an extremely tight budget and is a part of the collaborative effort known as the “Fifth Ward Redevelopment,” which represents years of hard work by community leaders and activists to revitalize and restore the community. This clinic is one of the early keystone projects to be completed along historic Lyons Avenue, the center of development efforts for the Ward that was founded in 1866. Since its creation, the Fifth Ward has predominantly been home to Houston’s vibrant immigrant and minority communities, which is anchored by Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, founded in 1865 by a former slave, and resides directly across the street from the new clinic.

Meticulous attention was paid — from the custom color/pattern lobby carpet, to the multicolored tree wall covering adorning the two-story lobby. The lobby’s volume is highlighted by 4’-0” linear LED tube lights that were arranged in a hexagon pattern as a sculptural piece. Large pieces of gray quartz stone make up the angles of the geometric reception desk which engages the corner of the room. Neutral walls are broken by ombre accents, filling the spaces in a myriad of colors throughout the facility to make this a fun and welcoming healing environment. The building itself functions as both a healing building, and a healing space, and features art and murals from community artists.


  • LEED Certification
  • Access to public transportation / walkability
  • Natural daylight
  • LED lighting, low flow fixtures


  • Limited access to critical support areas
  • Visual and acoustical privacy studies were performed
  • Patient privacy


  • Pediatric behavioral health needs were considered for this project — a project where mental and behavioral health is often inaccessible to those who would benefit most from this care


  • Lowered path of travel distances for staff
  • Achieved this through “on stage/off stage” clinic module
  • Patients enter through “patient travel” corridors, while staff work from an “off stage” core work area (also known as a bullpen), which allows them to enter exam rooms from a second entrance, giving them the ability to enter/exit with more efficiency and reduce path of travel
  • Decreasing path of travel for staff meant that the clinic can treat more patients in a typical clinic day
  • The on stage/off stage work area facilitates greater communication between staff, improving work performance and reducing medical errors


  • LEED Certification
  • Great care was taken to see that the building integrated with its environment in the historic Fifth Ward, so artists were commissioned to paint a mural on the exterior walls


  • Low-VOC paints, wall covering adhesives, sealants and formaldehyde-free substrates for millwork