Los Alamitos Medical Center (LAMC) in Los Alamitos, Calif., is a 47-year-old general medical and surgical hospital that was in need of a new medical office building to maintain its on-site independent physician base, as well as additional parking. On behalf of LAMC, builder Snyder Langston worked in conjunction with developer Pacific Medical Buildings (PMB) to develop a three-story, 70,000-square-foot, LEED Silver -certified, multitenant medical office building, designed by Boulder Associates, as well as a six-level, 1,077-space parking structure designed by IDG Parkitects. Both projects were developed within LAMC’s existing two-acre parking lot. Construction was completed in 14 months and opened in October 2014.

While the building’s main function is to house a multitude of doctors and health services, other factors—such as community integration, campus identity, and city planning requirements—contributed to the overall design. Both the street-facing and inner campus building exteriors were designed in a three-tier fashion using color and depth to elaborate on a simple yet sophisticated design. A sense of relief and depth is magnified by dominant brown arches, expanses of blue-green glass, and a section of varied tan and gray tiles at each of its main elevations. Contemporary shading devices at the windows were implemented to deflect heat and keep the building cool, while at the same time casting layers of shadow that add to its overall aesthetic. The building is capped with a modern cornice profile that also similarly appears at lower levels, adding to the design articulation. Inside the main lobby, patients, doctors, and guests are greeted with a two-level canopy, providing a sheltering effect.

The project had two key challenges during the construction process. First, Snyder Langston worked closely with PMB to help manage the temporary parking issues, with an intricate logistics and phasing plan that included shuttling and wayfinding programs for parking areas spread out across several satellite locations. Second, the parking lot where the structures were being built was designated by the state as contaminated from a spill of solvents before LAMC was constructed. To add to that challenge, the water table was high, making it necessary for the team to protect both the building from the site contamination as well as protect the local water shed from contamination. As a solution, Snyder Langston constructed a specialized foundation system by utilizing auger pressure grouted displacement piles, working closely with LAMC, a soil engineer, the grading contractor, and other experts.