Xenia Urban

I spent my first two years after graduation from Middlebury angsting about my future. How could I make a living with a degree in Fine Arts?  After various unstimulating jobs, I decided that a career in Architecture was the answer.  I interned at Platt, Wyckoff and Coles, Architects in NYC for a year, and received my Masters Degree in Architecture from Columbia University in 1977.

I worked in NYC firms throughout my career.  During my first year working in architecture firms, I also played electric bass in various bands at night.  When I knew I could not continue to work both day and night, I decided to stick with

Architecture.  Wise choice. I’ve kept up my music by singing in the Brooklyn Community Chorus for 25 years.

From 1978-1984 I worked at Russo & Sonder, a firm that specialized in healthcare.  There I learned to be a Medical Planner, designing hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and laboratories, progressing to Project Architect.  My first medical planning was for Yale New Haven Hospital, followed by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in TN, Passaic General Hospital in NJ, McLaren General Hospital in MI, and Abha Philanthropic Medical Center in Saudi Arabia.

I liked the challenges of designing a healthcare project from master plan and site plan through individual room equipment layouts; coordinating architectural, engineering, and consultant project teams; and incorporating user needs with budget and code constraints.  I specialized in healthcare architecture for the duration of my career.  It has been gratifying to see preliminary sketches and written text transformed into buildings. Most satisfying has been the knowledge that I’ve improved the environment for staff and for patients.

From 1984-1989 I was the founding partner of Andon Urban Architects, with clients including  NYC’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.  We won a competition to design the first AIDS Day Hospital in the US, bringing healthcare, dentistry, mental health counseling, a patient library, and social services into one suite. While designing this project, I became familiar with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s breakthrough policies for AIDS patients with the FDA.

From 1989-1995 I was a Vice President and Senior Medical Planner at Ellerbe Becket, Inc. I managed a medical planning team for Kings County Hospital Center in NYC, the office’s largest project, with an $8 million fee; successfully helped market over $2 million in new projects; and worked on over 1 million square feet for projects including Rikshospital in Oslo, Norway; Kings County Hospital Center in NYC; and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC.

From 1995 until my retirement at 2015, I was Associate Director of Hospitals for NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, primarily at Jacobi Medical Center. I was a member of the committee that awarded contracts to architecture firms for multi-million dollar NYCHHC projects. I represented Jacobi Medical Center while working with consulting architects for the master planning of a $250 million replacement hospital; for the programming, planning and design of a $67 million new Ambulatory Care Building, shown in images here; and for the $30 million ambulatory care renovation of existing space. Other projects for the facility under my supervision include Inpatient Care Units, Neonatal ICU, Psychiatric Emergency Department, Medical Oncology Suite, and Cardiac Catheterization Suite.  I also designed and managed the construction of an outdoor 9/11 memorial, shown in images here.  It is a quiet, peaceful respite from everyday hustle and bustle, surrounded by Nature, that also provides comfort to hospital staff and families of patients.