Reminder: GMHC’s move is scheduled for April 15, 2011
Above is a photo of the entryway to the new GMHC offices. With thanks to the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, which approves all new addresses, we have been given our new address: 446 West 33 Street, New York, NY 10001.
The move is scheduled for April 15–18. The goal is to be up and running on Tuesday, April 19. We are trying to make this move as minimally disruptive as possible. In the meantime, please visit our website (gmhc.org/were-moving) and you can check out our second video, hosted by Jeff Rindler, Managing Director of Program Services and Evaluation, and Jennay Thompson, Director of Coordinated Care. In this video, we provide a tour of the 6th floor and give you a glimpse of the new kitchen and dining room, which is almost completed.
As always, we welcome your feedback and please let us know of any questions or concerns you might have about the move. We will continue to provide updates, especially as we enter the final days of our time in the current building on West 24 Street. Right now, we are at 65 days before the move and hope you will join us in the countdown!
Chief Operating Officer
In this update, we would like to introduce the two architecture firms — Deborah Berke & Partners Architects LLP and The Mufson Partnership, who came together to form a team for GMHC. These two firms had not previously worked together but decided to collaborate on this project because of their shared support of GMHC’s work. We were able to stay on budget because of their remarkable partnership. And each firm has a story to tell about their journey with GMHC.
A Note from Deborah Berke, of Deborah Berke & Partners Architects LLP
I have been practicing architecture for more than 25 years. Architects are people with the ability to see and create in three dimensions, as well as problem solve about details that range from profound and poetic to the mundane and minor. For example, on the more profound side we think about things like where is the light coming from, how can this space inspire, does the room give its inhabitants dignity? In the case of GMHC, when a client comes to meet with a case manager, is the space private and protected? On the more practical end, projects have to meet applicable codes, which are about health, safety, and ADA (American for Disabilities Act) standards for accessibility — all of which may contribute to the beauty of the space.
The Berke team included our architects, Stephen Brockman, Jennifer Carruthers and Arthi Krishnamoorthy. The Mufson and Berke teams started working with GMHC late in 2008. An analysis was done about GMHC’s needs for its programs and services. You cannot look at spaces until you know what you need. And we looked at a lot of spaces — a staggering number! We had to analyze whether or not each space would work for GMHC. Once the space was identified, we started laying out GMHC’s requirements for the services within the structure of the space; for example, how a client would access services once she or he arrives in the building. Then the actual design process began. Once the drawings for construction were finished, they were shared with the entire project team.
The overall budget for the project was of enormous importance because the design team recognized that money should be spent on the mission of the organization. Along with creating new space, we were able to creatively and wisely re-use what was already in the space. This meant we were putting GMHC’s resources to the right use — which is not only very “green” and sustainable, but efficient and cost effective.
Now that the work of the Berke team is essentially complete, we remain on-call, pro bono, in case questions arise. We do a lot of work with non-profit organizations. We believe in giving back to the community by offering the services we know best. The people at GMHC are wonderful and we believe in the organization’s mission. We have made friends for life with the staff at GMHC.
Renato Passalacqua and Larry Mufson, of The Mufson Partnership
We have 50 years of experience in architecture (Larry, 30 years; Renato, 20 years). Our work in office-building analysis and design for corporations has taken us all over the world. Our job is to find the ultimate facility for a client from our point of view. We bring our experience from working with major corporations to non-profit organizations, which tend to have a more delicate approach to planning. There is more psychology and personality attached to a non-profit’s process. The decision-making is more holistic, which takes into account the perspectives of clients and employees. Yet the corporate response to planning is usually cut and dried. However, for any organization we work with, we want to make the most intelligent decisions.
As efficiency experts, we first issued an exhaustive analysis for this project about how people in the office space should meet, work and store materials, and how air conditioning, for example, is utilized. It was a complete education about what GMHC offers — a reflection on what urban society offices look like. It was also a fascinating process to meet the unique requirements of GMHC. Everything was interesting. You couldn’t have a prescribed answer.
When construction began, we started making regular trips to the office space — at least once or twice a week — to check on the progress and address issues as they arose. An instruction manual was developed to make the space what it is supposed to be. We also interface with agencies such as the Department of Buildings for filing building permits, completing inspections and basically ensuring that the office space complies with all government regulations. The Mufson team is legally responsible for this project—from the placement of fire alarms to meeting OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements. We have to do our due diligence.
By utilizing a conservative budget very carefully, the space looks substantial, inspired and intelligent. It looks like we spent three times more that was really spent. We wanted GMHC to reflect a fantastic environment. The staff is passionate about the particular elements of the work — the interconnection of services. We are very fond of the staff and moved by the collective commitment. This new office space has a greater order and we wanted to contribute.
Construction continues inside of the lobby of the entryway. The heating system is being tested as well. The crew from Otis Elevator has taken apart the elevator. They will replace all key parts and then put the elevator back together again. When this elevator is up and running, we will be able to transport 30-40 people from the lobby to the 6th and 7th floors at one time.
We are so close to sharing the exciting news of the Prevention and Wellness Center which will include HIV testing, Community Health and Mom’s Pharmacy. Please stay tuned!
If you have any questions about our updates, please call Krishna Stone in the Communications Department at (212) 367-1016 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.