After a fire raged through Parish Commons, a medical facility at the time, a few years ago, Dr. Mike Calabrese began to put all of the pieces back together. Instead of reassembling the building as it was, he decided to transform the complex into a vision that, back then, for many, was unthinkable. What we see today resembles the interior of an Aspen ski chalet more than a medical complex. “I wanted to give my patients something to think about,” Dr. Mike explained. “I didn’t want a sterile-looking office. I wanted a place where patients would feel comfortable… a place where they would relax. If I could take their minds off the reasons that they were there, then the building would be a success. I began to design a medical environment around the places that I had traveled to, including Vermont.”
It’s uncanny to think that the waiting room of the office looks onto a wood cabin with skylights. Vaulting ceilings and catwalks turn the scene into a small village of sorts, flooded with natural light – there is glass where walls should be, glass instead of doors, and there are arched skylights and dormers everywhere. A visit to this doctor’s office is unlike anything you have ever seen. There are green elements (see history), and artwork from local artists hanging on the walls, and the place is impossibly quiet. There are modern canister lights built into the beams, some original stained glass windows, original church canister votives, residential carpets, sliding pocket doors, curved half-moon hallways, wood banisters, iron spindles, overlooks, underpasses, whimsical mobiles by Graham Sears, along with the original brickwork and wood and stone arches that pay homage to the history of the church.
What is even more unbelievable is that everything that I have talked about and shown… that’s just on one half of the 28,000 sq.’ building – the completed half that is home to a grand boardroom and a $75,000 kitchen for catered events. Aalto Dental Arts has moved in as one of the tenants.
There’s physical therapy, chiropractic and yoga…acupuncture and massage, patient examining rooms with individual volume controls for the built in sound system (that the patient controls). There are skylights in the patients’ exam rooms, and even the staff of 38 have multiple break rooms with their own conference tables and kitchens. And if you think that all of this is impressive, just wait until you see what’s coming…
Medical Care of WNY
656 Elmwood Ave,