Torrance Memorial Medical Center—Polak Imaging Pavilion and Vasek & Anna Maria Polak Breast Diagnostic Center [Torrance, CA]
In response to significant growth in outpatient imaging and breast diagnostic services, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center (TMMC) engaged in a project to accommodate its growing service requirements. The solution was to use an existing 22,000-sq.-ft., on-campus medical office building and expand the space to create a 34,000-sq.-ft. outpatient diagnostic imaging center, the Polak Imaging Pavilion and Vasek & Anna Maria Polak Breast Diagnostic Center.
The space within the Breast Diagnostic Center was reconfigured to better support the staff and increase the mammography and ultrasound capabilities. The patient-files archive, staff break room, and conference room were relocated into the Imaging Pavilion to provide space for two digital mammography rooms and three ultrasound rooms.
In the existing medical office, now the Imaging Pavilion, the lobby area was maintained as a defining central point; the remainder of the space was gutted and remodeled. The waiting area was divided to correlate with four imaging modality suites: X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, and PET-CT. To create patient-friendly organization, the modalities were positioned in the four quadrants of the floor plan, with scan rooms located at the corners of the building. The design objective was to position patient-care areas on the exterior window walls to take advantage of the abundant natural light. The space between the scan rooms was used for staff support functions. Each suite's circulation was organized to minimize patient travel distance between modalities.
Project category: Remodel/Renovation (completed March 2005)
Chief administrator: Craig Leach, President & CEO, (310) 325-9110
Firm: Caruana & Associates, (562) 595-5666
Design team: Ric Hammond, AIA, Design Principal; Eileen Amano-Peterman, AIA, ASID, Interior Designer (Caruana & Associates); Rick Beall, SE, Structural Engineer (Myers, Houghton & Partners, Inc.); Robert Young, Mechanical Engineer (Robert M. Young and Associates); Rahim Peyvan, Electrical Engineer (Integrated Engineering Consulting Engineers, Inc.)
Photography: Charles LeNoir; Caruana & Associates
Total building area (sq. ft.): 34,000
Construction cost/sq. ft.: $321
Total construction cost (excluding land): $10,910,000
While the functional layout was crucial, the interior finishes also needed to create a positive experience and respond to the community's expectation of a high-quality healing environment, as seen in other parts of the TMMC campus. The existing late-1980s aesthetic was updated with a palette of warm, vivid hues—vibrant purples and greens and the richness of deep cherry woods. Wallcovering and carpeting infuse a soft, textural feel, and fabrics and finishes offer visually stimulating patterns with light- reflecting sheens.
The goal of the space plan was to create easy wayfinding and direct traffic patterns that lead patients through the treatment process without retracing their steps. Wayfinding cues, such as curved soffits and light sconces, identify each scan room with a less clinical demarcation. Details such as high ceilings in the corridors, elevation changes, backlit murals, and abundant natural light create an engaging environment that provides a positive experience for staff and patients alike.