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Healing Arts Building

Acute Care Pavilion at Rady Children’s Hospital embraces green design and high health care standards

The new Acute Care Pavilion at Rady Children’s Hospital is a model of elegant design fused with its overarching purpose: healing. The $260 million facility can also be considered a model for other institutions built for the care of children. It is the first acute care facility in the state to meet tough standards for quality and safety mandated by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. And it is on a path to receive LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Construction oversight of facilities adds a heightened level of complexity to already complicated health care construction projects in California, based on the state’s strict criteria for passing project inspections, reviews and approvals,” said Dan Stone of CCQA Inc., inspector-of-record for the project. “McCarthy skillfully managed the many construction details to meet the agency’s high standards.” That would be McCarthy Building Cos. Inc., which finished construction of the acute care pavilion 16 days ahead of schedule. (It is scheduled to receive patients on Oct. 10.)
The Acute Care Pavilion was designed by the San Francisco office of Anshen+Allen. It is located at 3020 Children’s Way in Kearny Mesa.
Oversight of California hospitals by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) was triggered by the 1971 Sylmar earthquake, which resulted in the collapse of several hospitals. That led in 1973 to the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Seismic Safety Act, which covers the construction acute care and psychiatric hospitals, among other health-related facilities. The standards not only help enforce patient safety during the earthquake, but also ensure that facilities can continue to function and care for the injured following earthquakes.
For the Acute Care Pavilion, Rady Children’s Hospital employed one onsite inspector-of-record and three field inspectors. OSHPD inspectors, visited the site three times a week. McCarthy officials said no detail of the project could afford to be overlooked, from the drilling operation that involved the installation of individual 60-foot-deep by eight-inch-wide holes to accommodate seismic tie-down rods, to the torque of each bolt.
Rady Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated child-specific medical center in the San Diego region, and demand for services had outgrown its existing facilities. The new 279,000-square foot Acute Care Pavilion was built on a 148,650-square-foot site at the southeast end of the hospital campus, adjacent to the existing Rose Pavilion. Second- and third-floor bridges and a ground-floor walkway connect the existing facility to the new four-story building.
The Acute Care Pavilion will house a surgical center, 84 medical-surgical beds, a neonatal intensive care unit and a cancer center. It also will provide 16 operating rooms with associated support departments, a 28-bed hematology and oncology unit, and a 10-bed bone marrow transplant intensive care unit. The exterior features a glass-fiber reinforced, precast concrete exterior; integral-colored plaster; storefront and curtain wall glass systems with colored accents; metal panels and railings; and a billowing steel front entry canopy carrying the hospital’s “kite” insignia.
“Rady Children’s Hospital has been committed to incorporating green practices throughout its operations for many years, so when it came time for us to expand, we set on a mission to become the largest children’s hospital in the state with a world-class LEED Certified facility,” said Tim Jacoby, vice president of facilities for Rady Children’s Hospital.  “Due to the degree of difficulty in meeting OSHPD and LEED requirements simultaneously, we knew the McCarthy team would be up against a huge challenge. Meeting our goal was not only a significant achievement for the hospital, but a milestone for the state of California.”
The Acute Care Pavilion has earned an “Innovation in Design” credit for the introduction of a series of healing gardens that utilize sustainable design principles and embrace the hospital’s healing arts program, which originally was developed in 1993 in conjunction with the Rose Pavilion construction. The program seeks to enrich the experience of patients, families and staff via visual and performing arts, and through the creation of healing gardens that draw on artists’ talents to transform normally lackluster courtyards into whimsical, outdoor retreats.
The facility provides an environment focused on the needs and imaginations of children. The purpose is to help relieve the stress of families with sick or injured children. Central to the theme of the building is the “River of Life” manifested through an immense, four-story mineral panel that incorporates a kinetic lighting system, which radiates a rainbow of vibrant colors through the front entry curtain wall.A mosaic tile version of the “River of Life” flows from the mineral lobby wall, out the front door and into the first-floor courtyard, which serves as one of several healing gardens.
Named “Carley’s Magical Gardens,” these playful, landscaped areas were designed through the collaboration of local artists T.J. Dixon, Kim Emerson, Albert De Matteis, and James Nelson. The first floor garden off the main entry, intended for use by parents and siblings, sets the stage for the whimsical themes experienced throughout the facility.
Located on the second floor off the hematology and oncology unit, the primary healing garden features a giant, tiled bird with a place for patients to deposit their wishes, which staff will later collect in order to better understand the children’s wants and needs. A life-size bronze figure of a young girl sitting at an eight-foot-long table is the centerpiece of the second-floor healing garden, and provides a place for organized activities and family gatherings. Other fanciful objects include a mosaic tile and concrete tree playhouse, complete with Hot Wheels tracks; a privacy bench; performance stage; and interactive garden screens and gates. A divided basketball playing area accommodates both regular and immune-deficient patients.
On the third floor is a landscaped bamboo garden with a rubber-surfaced playing area for patients and a retreat area for staff members. A vast ground-floor outdoor terrace, strictly for staff use, features Jacaranda trees, white light posts and bike racks.

1 Comments on “Healing Arts Building

  • The new pavilion is amazing, and something all of San Diego can be proud. Kudos to Rady Children’s for building not just a new hospital, but something truly special with all of the extra functional and art touches.

    The hospital is in Serra Mesa, not Kearny Mesa.

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