Sustainable Modernism Heals, Wins AIA Healthcare Honor Design Award


Los Angeles, CA—Michael W. Folonis, (M.Arch. II '94)  Architects (MWFA) has won a 2011 National Healthcare Honor Design Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH), in the Unbuilt category, for the design of the UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Oncology Center in Santa Monica, CA.

With the UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Oncology Center—opening in Fall 2011—MWFA created a 50,000-square-foot hybrid facility to house community outpatient surgery and oncology treatment, as well as academic and medical office facilities for UCLA medical students and faculty.  The new building, developed by Randall Miller, PE, of Nautilus Group, is slated for LEED Gold certification.

The architects were inspired by Modernist principles of indoor-outdoor connectivity, passive solar design, and a reduced materials palette to create a patient-focused healing environment that achieves a high standard of efficiency in healthcare design.  For an enhanced indoor-outdoor connection, sightlines are maximized to invite exterior views, and “micro-gardens” direct patients to various service areas.  A large exterior garden seating area gives patients and family a natural setting to wait and reflect.  Additional Modernist influences are evident in the building’s clean lines and material choices, such as a glass, steel, poured-in-place and board-formed concrete, and bamboo. 

“Through generous use of daylighting and sensitivity to the quality and character of light, the designers created a synergy—making the most of each design move—that we found in few other projects,” noted the jury, which selected only two unbuilt projects for accolades.  The jury was particularly impressed with the way the UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Oncology Center combined issues of sustainability and climate response with the creation of a bright, upbeat ambience.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the AIA for this center of healing and medical discovery,” said Michael W. Folonis, FAIA.  “We are even more delighted to be able to utilize technological advancements to provide an elegant, relaxing environment for patients, doctors, nurses, and staff.”

A cutting-edge, fully automated parking system reduces the garage footprint by 50 percent and increases energy efficiency to help the UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Oncology Center meet LEED Gold certification requirements.  Additional sustainable features include a passive solar design, recycled and locally sourced materials, the use of efficient water systems, and a large roof-top photovoltaic system providing approximately 15 percent of the building’s energy needs.

The National Healthcare Honor Design Awards program showcases the best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research.  Winning projects are chosen by a jury of leading architects and industry experts, and must exhibit conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns, as well as the requisite functional and sustainable concerns of a hospital.

In addition to the 2011 National Healthcare Honor Design Award, the project has also won a 2010 NEXT LA Honor Award from AIA/Los Angeles, and a 2010 Westside Prize from the Westside Urban Forum.

Michael W. Folonis Architects, founded in 1983 by Michael W. Folonis, FAIA, is a full-service architecture firm nationally recognized for carrying on the rich legacy of Modernist exploration within the Southern California region.  The firm’s range of experience includes mixed-use, multi-family residential, medical, commercial, single-family residential, and the restoration of historically significant Modernist buildings.  Folonis holds a master's degree from UCLA, and a bachelor of architecture degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).  He is on the Board of Directors of the AIA/Los Angeles, serves as chairperson of the Architectural Review Board in the City of Santa Monica, and is a board member of the Santa Monica Conservancy.  Folonis has taught at SCI-Arc since 2002, and previously taught at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA, for 20 years.