Perched on the corner of South and Elmwood Avenue, the Al Sigl Golisano Campus serves as the heart of an inclusive community for local businesses and non-profit organizations serving Rochester locals with disabilities and special needs. The nearly 50 year old building had dated materials and finishes that created an institutional feeling throughout the campus. Former President Dan Meyers and current President Tom O’Connor wanted to create colorful, inviting and accessible mixed-use spaces for its agencies and clients, which range from Mary Cariola Children’s Center – serving children with complex disabilities, to Rochester Hearing and Speech – providing speech, language and hearing services to the Rochester area. As a first phase of ongoing work at the campus, LaBella Associates was hired to design a new café, conference center, and two main lobbies.
The program for the café required an updated serving line, new ADA accessible furniture, and a lounge area for informal meetings and a more relaxed dining environment. LaBella designed the café to be a multifunctional space, including areas of café height tables, curved banquet seating “nooks,” traditional cafeteria tables and soft lounge seating. Drawing inspiration from the colors and textures of Lake Ontario and the local environment, organic curved soffits, accent nooks, and a bright color palette were introduced during the renovation to create an exciting and inviting dining space with a relaxed feel of a coffee shop.
The second floor lobby and conference center featured similar architectural elements and a shared paint palette, with rectilinear arches, lounge areas and accent walls. Curved soffits highlight the main conference rooms from the corridor. Updated lounge pieces and training-style conference tables were selected to create flexible spaces that can change as the needs of the users change. Large drum pendant lights were added to create a more dynamic and hospitality inspired entrance lobby. Interior windows with branded window film were included to allow visual accessibility and daylighting while also providing a level of privacy for each room’s occupants.
Future phases include a holistic, color-coded interior and exterior signage and wayfinding package, site rework, new vestibules and a wellness center. All of this ongoing work will continue the move toward a more open, inclusive, and engaging branded facility.