News Release: CO Architects Wins Best Health Care Project for ‘Hospital of the Future’

Palomar Medical Center by CO Architects. Photo: Tom Bonner.

Palomar Medical Center Honored Nationally and Regionally for Innovation

LOS ANGELES, March 13, 2013 — The CO Architects designed Palomar Medical Center (PMC) in Escondido, CA, has been awarded national and regional honors for cutting-edge design and project delivery.  The recently opened hospital has been named “Best of the Best Health Care Project” nationally and California’s “Best Overall Project” and “Best Health Care Project” by Engineering News-Record.  In addition, it received a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards competition.

The awards represent “a unique achievement and the next stage of development in the building of hospitals and the way we care for individuals in such settings,” said Palomar Health president and CEO Michael H. Covert.  “These recognitions are a testament to everyone involved in the creation, planning, and design of the new hospital—including our board and staff.”

CO Architects’ 740,000-square-foot hospital was conceptualized as a functional and flexible vertical garden “hospital of the future” set within a campus configuration.  Charged with developing the 360-bed tertiary care facility, CO Architects used an evidence-based design process in which individuals from all departments in the hospital were invited to participate in researching new and emerging ideas in healthcare design.

“PalomarMedicalCenterrepresents a huge leap forward in the ongoing pursuit of innovations in healthcare architecture that contribute to better patient outcomes,” said Tom Chessum, FAIA, CO Architects principal and PMC project director.  For example, it includes a 1.5-acre rolling green roof planted with native flora intended to create a beautiful and restorative setting for visitors, staff, and patients, and is one of only twoU.S.hospitals that integrate daylight into operating rooms.

 According to Engineering News-Record editors, the “Best of the Best Health Care Projects” winners are “truly outstanding examples for the entire construction industry of teamwork, safety, overcoming challenges, innovation, and quality,” while their regional “Best Projects” awards recognize design and construction teams that create exemplary and innovative work in various categories.  The PMC team engaged in a modified Integrated Project Delivery process wherein a collaborative project team comprising CO Architects, DPR Construction, and Palomar Health were equally responsible for the on-time, on-budget delivery of the project.

PMC was a pilot project for the Green Guide for Healthcare, a rating system specifically designed for healthcare projects.  To that end, PMC embodies two main directives of sustainable healthcare design: create an environment that promotes health and healing, and reduce the impact on the natural environment in construction and operations.  Because of efficient mechanical equipment, lighting systems, and envelope design, the building will perform significantly better than a typical hospital would in a similar climate. 

PalomarMedicalCenterreceived several honors while still under construction.  It earned a 2010 AIA Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP)/Building Information Model (BIM) Excellence Award.  In 2007 it was honored with an AIA Los Angeles NEXT LA Merit Award and a Modern Healthcare Design Award Citation.  Its first honor was a Healthcare Design Citation of Merit Award in 2006.

CO Architects is a nationally recognized architecture firm specializing in healthcare, academic, and science and technology architectural planning, programming, and design.  The firm’s healthcare experience ranges from existing facility evaluations to new, comprehensive medical campuses including, hospitals, outpatient facilities, specialty clinics, medical office buildings, and facility expansion and renovation.  CO Architects’ work on academic medical campuses includes new schools of medicine and allied health.

Project Team:

Architect: CO Architects

Associate Architect for D&T Medical Planning: Stantec

Construction Management: DPR Construction

Interior Design: Stantec; RTKL

Landscape Architect: Spurlock Poirier

Structural/Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers

M/E/P Engineer: M E Engineers

Lighting Designer: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design

Sustainability/Cost Estimator:DavisLangdon

Wind Engineering Consultant: CPP

Photographer: Tom Bonner

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