Structure Type: built works - public buildings - health and welfare buildings

Designers: KPFF Consulting Engineers (firm); Naramore, Bain, Brady, and Johanson, (NBBJ) (firm); Skanska USA Building Incorporated (firm); Dale Alberda (architect); William James Bain Sr. (architect); Clifton J. Brady (architect); David Kennett Forssen Sr. (engineer); David G. Fritz (engineer); Perry Bertil Johanson (architect); Albert Kelly (engineer); Floyd Archibald Naramore (architect); Lawrence Parrett (architect); Harvey Paul Pittelko (engineer)

Dates: constructed 2012-2014

4 stories, total floor area: 230,000 sq. ft.

301 Industrial Road
San Carlos, CA 94070

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Architects for this branch clinic of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation sought to introduce nature as a therapeutic agent into this project. The four-story facility stood on an 18-acre site, a former brownfield, located to the west of the busy Bayshore Highway (Highway 101). The initial phase of construction called for the completion of an outpatient clinic, welcome center, ambulatory surgery center, (serving 100 physicians) and a four-level parking structure

Building History

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation commissioned Seattle-based NBBJ Architects to design this four-floor clinic, encouraging the designers to maximize the amount of natural light on the interior and enhance connections between interior spaces with gardens outside. To do this, the architects considered the Spanish missions built during the early 19th century for inspiration, particularly in the design of courtyards. Lydia Lee, writing for Contract, stated: "PAMF asked the designers to find an architectural style for the four-level clinic that would speak to the local community. The result is contemporary yet warm and non-institutional, thanks to influences that include California Mission style, evident in the center’s tan Santa Barbara stucco finish, and mountain lodges, recalled by the redwood-lined overhangs and cleft-cut sandstone walls. 'First and foremost, we wanted to give patients the feeling that they’d come to the right place. We wanted to make it comfortable and not threatening,' says David Jury, PAMF’s vice president of support services and facilities development." (See Lydia Lee, Contract, "Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Center," published 09/28/2015, accessed 10/10/2018.)

Another design journal, Interior, also noted how nature was utilized to serve as a therapeutic agent within the clinic. Annie Block wrote for Interior “'There was a desire from the client, Sutter Health, to design a healing environment,' Josie Briggs, NBBJ senior associate and the project’s lead, begins. 'It was important that it become not only a new gateway to the community, but also a symbol for positive development.Our design team wanted to celebrate the natural light and link people to nature for moments of respite, healing, and improved cognition,'” Briggs notes.The outdoors is brought inside through several gestures. Glass encloses the walkway connecting the main lobby to the clinic. Along it is a long live-edge walnut bench and a metal canopy cut with a leaf pattern, its shadow cast onto the walkway’s floor, continually changing throughout the day." (See Annie Block, Interior, "Nature and Nurture: NBBJ's Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Center," published 07/30/2015, accessed 10/10/2018.)

NBBJ partner, Dale Alberda, emphasized the success of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Clinic in 09/2016: "Several projects have transformed the way health care is delivered by enabling communities to deal with issues such as dignity, cultural sensitivity and healthy lifestyle, including the Palo Alto Medical Foundation campus in San Carlos, California." (See Seattle, "Architects on the Leading Edge," published 09/12016, accessed 05/13/2019.)

Building contractor, Skanska, completed the San Carlos Center, in 11/2014. NBBJ also worked with the engineering firm KPFF on this Palo Alto Medical Foundation facility.

Building Notes

The entire NBBJ project team for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation San Carlos Center included Larry Parrett, Josie Briggs, Dale Alberda, Shannon Coughlin, Richard Dallam, Katie Davis, Jay Halleran, Wayne Hiranaka, Ashlee Washington, Diane Lasko, Pete Lorimer, Craig Matheny, Anna McCune, Robert Murray, Sarah Oliver, Jesse Prince, Celeste Robinette, Tara Schneider, Rysia Suchecka, Lynne Shira, and Christina Yates.

Recipient, Building Design + Construction, Platinum Building Team Award, 2015.

Recipient, Best Medical Office Building Public Spaces, International Interior Design Association, 2015.

Recipient, Architects for Health Design Awards, Best International Project, 2015.

Recipient, Interior Design, Best of the Year for Large Healthcare, 2015.

Recipient, Contract Interiors, Interior Awards--Healthcare, 2016.

Recipient, Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), Illumination Award of Merit, 2016.

PCAD id: 22449