San Francisco prides itself on being a leader in many social and technological issues including caring for the health of its citizens, being a center for research and innovation, and spearheading efforts to be the greenest city in the United States. An existing University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Mission Bay life sciences research campus made the addition of a new medical center nearby an ideal ground for translational medicine. It provides space for UCSF’s highly-regarded cancer, children and women’s programs.
The design puzzle was to balance identity with the cost efficiency of shared services in construction, operational, and staffing costs. In the 878,000 square foot structure, each center of excellence is separate, but shares a platform of support services and diagnostic treatment spaces arranged along a main spine. A kaleidoscope of color of dichroic glass enlivens the building’s surface and entry to the Benioff Children’s Hospital. The women’s center and cancer center have separate entrances. Sky lobbies allow families outdoor access on patient floors, while over six acres of gardens on terraces, some accessible to patients, make it a hospitable place connected to the natural environment at every opportunity.