Dezeen Magazine

Selldorf Architects to redevelop Washington DC HIV clinic named after Liz Taylor

Selldorf Architects has been selected to design a major mixed-use project in Washington DC on the site of the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, an HIV treatment centre named after the late actress.

A joint venture between nonprofit Whitman-Walker Health, the owner of the Elizabeth Taylor Center, and for-profit company Fivesquares Development, the block-long site will be rebuilt to include residential, retail, and a new health clinic.

The project will be Selldorf's first in Washington. The firm will begin programming and design studies for the site in the coming months.

"The location has a rich history and architecturally has exciting potential," said principal Annabelle Selldorf (pictured top).

"We believe that we can offer thoughtful and beautiful architecture which will contribute to the urban fabric, respect the legacy of the client, and benefit the community in meaningful ways for years to come," she added.

Located at the corner of 14th and R Streets, the site is one of the few underdeveloped plots in the area.

Annabelle Selldorf
Annabelle Selldorf, principal of Selldorf Architects, who have been selected to redevelop the site of the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, Washington DC. Portrait by Brigitte Lacombe

"The redevelopment of one of the last remaining blocks on 14th Street is a rare opportunity to create something extraordinary not only architecturally but as a new piece of city for the community to enjoy," said Andrew Altman, principal of Fivesquares Development.

Selldorf Architects has a diverse portfolio of cultural, educational, and residential projects, including the renovation of buildings at the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts and a new primary school in rural Zambia.

The clinic was named after the film star in 1993, and she attended the dedication.

The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, Whitman-Walker Clinic
The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center is located at the corner of 14th and R Streets in Washington DC

A longtime HIV/AIDS activist, she established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991, and gave more than $17 million (£12 million) to care for those infected with the virus.

Whitman-Walker Health offers primary medical and dental care, mental health and addictions counselling and treatment, HIV education, prevention, and testing, legal services, and medical case management.

The organisation has a special focus on the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and people living with HIV/AIDS.

Once a moribund area of the profession, prominent architects and designers are increasingly working on health clinics and hospital projects, such as a children's cancer center in Rwanda by David Adjaye and a Tokyo hospital built around a garden by Kengo Kuma.