The Martin Center

The Martin Center at Silver Hill Hospital is a 1970’s era, heavy timber “pavilion-like” building that houses the Hospital’s sports facilities including a pool, gymnasium, spa services, and a large assembly room for group gatherings. The 25,000 square foot building is constructed of natural materials including fieldstone walls, lots of glass windows and doors and exposed glulam columns and beams. 


Richard Turlington Architects took a holistic approach to elevate wellness opportunities to a whole new level. We restored the entire façade without compromising the integrity of the original aesthetic with a heavy focus on improving the energy performance of the exterior skin. We also completely replaced all the antiquated electric heating and cooling systems with new, energy efficient gas-fired HVAC units. This change in the building’s energy source turned this building from a closed-down energy sink into a viable, fully occupied building.

Spatially, we focused on improving the wellness aspect of this building because it serves the entire 120 patient-body through a supporting role that extends beyond the tenets of traditional psychological treatment. In short, we pushed far more daylight into the depths of this large and historically introverted building. For instance, the interior main lobby was the central space from which all functions radiate. The original lobby space was a dark ceilinged truncated drum which we “stretched” into a new, powerful two-story cylinder topped by a huge glass skylight. We added a new thermal glass enclosure for a multipurpose room that extended the building into the landscape, balancing the existing transparency of the existing pool pavilion and served as a rotating art display space, yoga room, small meeting room, and buffet server for large gatherings. 


In the gymnasium, we replaced all the high level deteriorated Kalwall translucent panels with all new, fully transparent clerestory windows that flooded this large space with natural light and allowed the occupants to see the trees and sky from inside. Brightening this room totally re-energized its importance to campus life because it now contains the traditional basketball court, pool tables, and a fully functioning gym. 


We added a gift shop to act as a retail anchor for all the patients. Although the gift shop is only 400 square feet, this is an example of how Richard Turlington Architects took a tiny program and made it an important wellness component for the Hospital. The gift shop has become a conceptual thread that attracts patients to exercise and be active simply because they see other patients being active, and who doesn’t like to shop?  We thoroughly changed the character of the existing community room by stripping the walls back to clean surfaces that we painted with a bright color, we introduced a new suspended glass lantern lighting system, improved the acoustics and replaced the original flooring with new hardwood. 


Our holistic design approach left no surface alone, we replaced all the old, dark wood with large expanses of bright maple, new stone tile flooring and bright walls colors.  The result is a building full of fun and brightness that facilitates the joy of movement and promotes informal social interaction and spaces for structured seminars.