A Holistic Community Center by Duda/Paine

Duda/Paine’s newest design is not a medical center, a wellness center or a fitness center.

It’s all three, under one umbrella. And it’s transparent, physically and metaphorically – in 70,000 square feet, on two levels.

Created for the community of Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando, it also merges alternative and traditional medicines – so pills and prescriptions may be part of the process, but so is looking at the human condition holistically.

“It’s for every age, young to old, and for other people in the community to be part of the process to keep healthy and well,” says Turan Duda, co-founder of the Durham architecture firm that bears his name. “It’s not just about nurses and doctors, but knowledge-based for things like nutrition training and dance lessons.”

The firm’s assignment was to create a facility that’s the first of its kind – a community center that transforms the meaning of wellness. That meant breaking down barriers between doctors and patients – with peer-to-peer discussions. Inside, there’s also a track for patients to walk around with the doctors, while asking anything they want.

“They don’t necessarily need an appointment,” he says. “And they don’t worry about asking the wrong question – it’s about social wellness, financial wellness and nutritional wellness.”

The idea is to empower the people in the community about their choices – and present them with a menu of options. Anyone walking in may need a fitness class or clinic, but they’ll also see a kitchen with classes for a healthy lifestyle, or seniors learning about aging in place, or gatherings focused on yoga, acupuncture or diet.

“It’s about being informed about a healthy lifestyle and to be in touch with others, whether acupuncture or diet,” he says. “They’re not getting information from an expert but from a trusted friend.”

During a time of the coronavirus, most of that’s happening virtually. But it’s also happening with a healthy cross-section of the Winter Park community. “We expected 2,100 members, and we got 3,200 instead,” he says.

And numbers like those speak for themselves.

For more, go here.

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