In 2005, the University of California San Diego Medical Center came to RTKL with an ambitious undertaking in mind-adding a new, 128,000 sq ft comprehensive cardiovascular centre to Thornton Hospital on the La Jolla campus. UCSD's ultimate objective: to expedite the process of translating discovery into better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease. To accomplish this, they retained RTKL to consolidate inpatient and outpatient cardiovascular services into one convenient centre, making it the first in the San Diego region to combine cardiovascular research, education and patient care under one roof.
With the objective of achieving a better, faster project delivery, RTKL worked with UCSD to create a multi-discipline and collaborative team structure. A project ‘Board of Directors' was formed of leadership from the hospital, builder, architect and engineer. This alliance ensured that shared objectives, responsibilities, and expectations were wholly met to achieve the best value for this cardiovascular project.
When design of the new hospital began, the ideal image for the facility proved to be both a physical and a political dilemma. CVC leaders wanted a distinctive building that would be a powerful new icon and brand in the community. Hospital leaders wanted the new addition to match the adjacent Thornton Hospital. RTKL led the two groups through a discussion of ownership, branding, value of image to specialty service lines, and a session on architectural communication. As a result, Hospital leaders and Cardiovascular Center leaders came to consensus on a building design concept that serves the best interests of both.
The design reflects this collaborative, transparent process. The framework is glass-wrapped to showcase the 360-degree vistas of the La Jolla coastline, nearby canyons, and the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The expansive views complement nature-inspired design elements-an outdoor entry atrium, a fountain that pools around a cluster of boulders, several gardens and a courtyard-to create a unique healing environment. In harmony with its 'jewel box' appearance, the curvature of the walkway is an open invitation into the building and another of many carefully designed details that are both functional for and thoughtful of the centre's primary concern; its patients.