Shortly after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake left the bed tower of Santa Monica Hospital with severe structural damage, the UCLA Health System acquired the hospital with the goal of making it the first in a medical network that would combine the comfort and convenience of a community hospital with the great research, teaching, and tertiary care already associated with the UCLA Westwood Campus. At a total of 420,000 square feet and 210 beds, the project includes the demolition and reconstruction of most of the facility, a clarification and reshuffling of existing uses, and the development of new image for a beloved neighborhood hospital much in need of revitalization.
Construction phasing was carefully planned to allow the hospital to continue functioning as the project was built. A park and building wing on Wilshire Boulevard establishes a presence on this busy street. A tower element addresses the side streets and defines open courtyard gardens and a quiet tree-lined entrance. These green spaces make a symbolic connection to the main UCLA campus at Westwood, while creating a friendly, welcoming facility that contributes positively to the pleasant character of the surrounding neighborhood. As a way of branding the new building as a part of the UCLA Health Sciences system, our design references the historic Northern Italianate center of the UCLA campus with a lively combination of brick and cast stone. Stucco is added to the mix to lighten the mass of the building and to connect to the more casual Mediterranean architecture of Santa Monica.