Simplicity and structural expression characterize the VA Northern California Health Care System's new Fairfield Outpatient Clinic at Travis Air Force Base, which provides health services to veterans in Northern California. Located at Travis Air Force Base—the site of David Grant Medical Center—the clinic complements services provided at other Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in the region.

This single-story, 38,000-square-foot structure blends icons of aviation into three volumes of space, resulting in clear wayfinding between the central lobby and the clinical and ancillary wings. The design provides an easily accessible central lobby with well-defined circulation and naturally lit, acoustically softened waiting areas. Exterior massing evokes aeronautic imagery while screening public spaces from the sun. Inside, exposed steel bracing reflects the form of lightweight aircraft, while simultaneously framing directional signage to key primary and ancillary care services.

Planning concepts express the building's structural system, while preserving functional flexibility. Clinical spaces are grouped as flexible modules to allow changes of use without changes in construction. For example, administrative departments can be easily converted to exam and treatment space and, similarly, individual offices can easily convert to clinical treatment rooms.

The building footprint consists of three distinct zones: an open entrance lobby; a modular clinical block, which anticipates future conversion from primary care to specialty use; and an ancillary support block, which allows for future conversion to soft space for enhanced diagnostic and treatment functions. A clerestoried lobby links interior and exterior spaces through a gradual progression of inviting materials and finishes.

Project category: New construction (completed February 2000)

Chief administrator: Eric Carey, Acting Western Team Leader, (916) 843-7187

Firm: SmithGroup, Inc., (415) 227-0100

Design team: David L. Martino, AIA, FACHA, Senior Vice-President; Bill Rostenberg, FAIA, FACHA, Vice-President, Project Manager; David Golden, Construction Administrator; Larry Bailey, Project Architect; Chris Lane, former Associate

Photography: Michael O'Callahan

Total building area (GSF): 38,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $226

Total cost (excluding land): $8,600,000