After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake damaged the Santa Monica Hospital, the medical center was acquired by the UCLA Health System, who hired architect Robert A. M. Stern to design the new facility. The new building, totaling 420,000 square feet, was constructed with a combination of Norman brick, cast stone, and stucco to create a visual reference to the Northern Italianate and Romanesque campus architecture of UCLA and its Health Sciences system.
The gardens and courtyards of the 15-acre, 210-bed campus were designed by Pamela Burton and Company to conserve water, reduce maintenance and stormwater runoff, and provide quiet, contemplative spaces with lush, cool, oxygen-rich microclimates. Recognizing the diverse and specific needs of hospital patients and visitors, Burton created a distinct hierarchy of spaces for gathering, walking, lounging, resting, and privately meeting. Plant materials, including sycamore, ficus, and coral trees, were all chosen to reference the UCLA campus and the work of legendary Southern California landscape architect Ralph Cornell.
An open public park space serves visitors and employees and is visible from the hospital’s dining terrace. A great lawn bisected by an allée of coral trees lies adjacent to the hospital’s Chapel, which features a dry planted bed and a vast pergola. A secondary, porticoed entry offers fully accessible access and provides discreet seating under a grove of olive trees. An ADA-accessible ramping system connects the two entrances with a gently sloped walkway flanked by additional seating. Throughout the campus, circumambulation is encouraged by the presence of several walkways linking a series of seating areas. These outdoor “rooms” are thoughtfully designed to offer privacy for quiet moments.