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Denver Health Southwest Family Health Center

"I think it was a really great collaboration right from the beginning. We learned a lot about how the architects design and build buildings, and I think the architects (RTA) learned a lot about how we work in the clinics. People walked away feeling like they had truly been heard.”

Tina Quintana, Clinic Administrator, Federico F. Pena Southwest Family Health Center, Denver Health & Hospital Authority


Connecting through experience of place.

An integral part of the Denver Health healthcare delivery system is the network of Community Health Centers throughout the city, and Denver Health saw a need to expand their services to the southwest part of the metro area. These centers function as primary care clinics that provide services for patients of all ages. They are foundational to achieving high-quality, accessible, and efficient healthcare.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

The design portion of the process began with an immersion phase in which the RTA design team shadowed staff at the Westside Clinic for several days in order to understand the clinic’s processes and user needs. The design team also toured three other existing Family Health Centers, including Montbello, Park Hill, and Lowry. RTA learned that it is imperative that their Family Health Centers reflect the context and culture of the neighborhood in which they’re located and be flexible to accommodate the changing levels and types of patient care. It became RTA’s goal to not only embrace the powerful impacts that these facilities have on their patients and communities, but to design the Federico F. Peña Southwest Family Health Center to reflect and to continue to help further the Denver Health mission of “Level One Care for All.”


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

Denver Health’s intentionality is embodied throughout the entire building. The facility is in a neighborhood comprised of multiple cultures and languages, with visitors and patients who potentially may find the English language to be a barrier towards receiving proper care. A touch screen directory, equipped with a selection of languages reflecting the diversity of the neighborhood, welcomes and assists visitors. Universal design and intuitive wayfinding were implemented so that patients could easily navigate their way through the new facility through numbered and color-coded departments rather than English language signage. By designing care pods and removing private offices, doctors and the healthcare team work collaboratively which saves space, money, and enhances team communication. There are also expansive atriums and lobbies for large community gatherings and a spacious interactive children’s play zone. High vaulted ceilings, expansive skylights, and abundant windows provide extensive natural light, while high-quality finishes, soothing colorful natural images, local artwork, warm wood, and slate tiles ensure that the Southwest Family Health Center provides quality care both medically and aesthetically.

Read more about the Southwest Family Health Center project here.

Project Details

  • Square footage: 45,000 sf
  • Project cost: $16M

Design Details

  • Natural light
  • Intuitive wayfinding
  • Warm, inviting finishes