Architecture People & Places


CO Architects in Escondido, California

The new 11-story Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California by CO Architects. Photo: Tom Bonner

CO Architects designed the Palomar Medical Center (PMC), which recently opened in Escondido, California. The 740,000-square-foot (69,000-square-meter) hospital was conceived as a functional and flexible vertical garden facility, set within a campus configuration. The 360-bed tertiary care facility, was developed using an evidence-based design process in which individuals from all departments in the hospital were invited to participate in researching new and emerging ideas in healthcare design.

PMC also includes a 1.5-acre (0.61-hectare) rolling green roof with native plants that provides a pleasant and restorative setting for visitors, staff, and patients. The facility also integrates daylight into operating rooms.

One of numerous outdoor terraces of PMC. Photo: Tom Bonner

Palomar Medical Center was a pilot project for the Green Guide for Healthcare, a rating system specifically designed for healthcare projects. In line with that participation, PMC is intended to embody two main directives of sustainable healthcare design:

  • create an environment that promotes health and healing
  • reduce the impact on the natural environment in construction and operations.

Upper-floor terraces of PMC. Photo: Tom Bonner

Because of efficient mechanical equipment, lighting systems, and envelope design, the building will purportedly "perform significantly better than a typical hospital would in a similar climate."

The building received a 2013 American Council of Engineering Companies award, and has previously been recognized by Engineering News-Record, AIA Los Angeles and the AIA Healthcare Design committee.

A daylit operating room. Photo: Tom Bonner

Project Credits
  • Architect: CO Architects
  • Associate Architect for D&T Medical Planning: Stantec
  • Construction Management: DPR Construction
  • Interior Design: Stantec; RTKL Landscape Architect: Spurlock Poirier
  • Structural/Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • M/E/P Engineer: M E Engineers
  • Lighting Designer: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
  • Sustainability/Cost Estimator: Davis Langdon
  • Wind Engineering Consultant: CPP
  • Photographer: Tom Bonner

Plantings can be found on roofs and terraces. Photo: Tom Bonner
Project Details
  • Area: 740,000 square feet (69,000 square meters)
  • Floors:11
  • Energy Use Intensity: not available

Rear elevation overview. Photo: Tom Bonner

Entry. Photo: Tom Bonner

An upper-floor patient area. Photo: Tom Bonner

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