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Campus renewal: Community effort saves a crucial healthcare resource

Building Team Awards

Campus renewal: Community effort saves a crucial healthcare resource

Silver Award: Taylor Design (architect) and SmithGroup (AOR) led an integrated design-build team anchored by McCarthy Building Companies (GC).

By Robert Cassidy, Executive Editor | June 17, 2019

Rancho Los Amigos earned three LEED Silver, one LEED Gold, and a LEED-NC for Healthcare certification (Master Site) for its 28-acre campus. Photos: Michael McLane, McLane + Studio

Since 1989, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, Downey, Calif. has been rated one of “America’s Best Rehabilitation Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. But in 2003, its owner, Los Angeles County, almost closed it down. The community rallied behind the hospital, spurring a three-year, $412 million campus revitalization that was completed last fall.

Taylor Design (architect) and SmithGroup (AOR) led an integrated design-build team anchored by McCarthy Building Companies (GC) that saw 70% of the key players on board as early as the proposal phase. Using a “Big Room” approach, the team collocated to rapidly create, prototype, and price numerous design solutions.

The team held weekly design reviews and created physical mockups of key architectural components for review by county officials and hospital department members. They used virtual reality to communicate design features to decision makers, notably the center’s CEO and COO, funding agencies, and the construction management team.


Physical therapy with indoor track and suspension harness.


A 12,000-sf wellness center offers physical therapy, aquatic therapy, and advanced rehabilitative technologies for spinal cord injury and stroke patients. The wellness center also serves as a community gym open to local residents.

The 28-acre campus has a 29,170-sf therapy garden, an 8,400-sf horticulture garden, a 21,740-sf amphitheater, and an 8,790-sf sports court.

Rancho Los Amigos cares for more than 4,000 inpatients a year and provides 71,000 annual outpatient visits.

Building Team — Submitting firms Taylor Design (architect), SmithGroup (AOR), Owner Los Angeles County, Department of Public Works, SE IMEG/TTG, ME/PE Murray Company, EE SASCO, GC McCarthy Building Companies

General information — Size 200,000 sf, Construction cost $412 million, Construction time July 2015 to September 2018, Delivery method Design-build


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