A look at living-centered projects in California

A highlight of local projects in Califronia designed to address life’s complex interdependencies.

By CannonDesign June 10, 2020

COVID-19 has illuminated important lessons about human life—about disease spread, public health, resilience and much more. It has reminded us how important community is, both physically and societally, and how interdependent so many aspects of life are.

Although much of the future is uncertain, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few local projects—in-development and recently completed—that were designed to address life’s complex interdependencies. All these projects were informed by our Living-Centered Design approach, which addresses the deep-rooted challenges people, businesses, communities, society and the environment face. Our ability to harness Living-Centered Design to help organizations realize impactful, systemic change is one of the reasons ENR California recently named us its Design Firm of the Year.


LAC+USC Restorative Care Village | Los Angeles

The Restorative Care Village will introduce a new kind of environment to help people in LA County with unstable living conditions. The project takes a comprehensive approach to the interrelated and complex needs of homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, job training/housing and medical co-morbidity. The village will be largely modular with both a Recuperative Care Center and a Residential Treatment Program. We’re fortunate to be designing, building and providing modular construction for this project.

MLK Child and Family Well-being Center | Los Angeles

The MLK Child and Family Well-being Center will be the newest addition to the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Campus in Southern Los Angeles. The 55,000-SF building will include a pediatric clinic, an autism wellness center and a family justice center—all aimed at addressing the multitude of challenges faced by those engaged in the child welfare system, with a particular focus on the prevention and mitigation of trauma. We’re proud to be both the architect and builder for this important project.

Cordilleras Mental Health Center | Redwood City

This replacement hospital will transform Cordilleras into a center for wellness, rehabilitation and recovery that leverages every aspect of the built and natural environment. The design takes cues from the existing topography, hydrology and natural resources , leveraging nature as a key part of the healing process. Designed as a community of buildings, the campus will comprise five single-story, 16-bed rehabilitation centers and a campus center housing social spaces and additional housing.

Museum of Tolerance, Social Lab | Los Angeles, California

Continuing our long-standing partnership with the Museum of Tolerance, the Social Lab features interactive exhibits educating the public about some of the most important social issues of the day, including racism, the global refugee crisis, climate change, gender equality and more.

Santa Monica College, Math & Science Building | Santa Monica

To prepare students to obtain in-demand careers in STEM fields, Santa Monica College is building a new 110,0000-sf Math and Science Building. The building takes full advantage of the Southern California climate and is wrapped in a channel glass façade with punctured windows designed to put science and math on display, while welcoming natural light into all learning areas. Generous landscaping and outdoor plazas will surround the building, accommodating outdoor classes, group studying and community events.

We’re thankful to be working on many other living-centered projects, too, including the Oroville Hospital Expansion in Oroville, three new libraries in Riverside, Cedars-Sinai’s Breast Center in West Hollywood, a multi-year activation project with the City of Hope Duarte Campus, the modernization of  Ulysses S. Grant High School in Los Angeles, the San Francisco International Airport Modernization Program, the Los Angeles International Airport Modernization and more.

Recently completed projects

Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s Thompson Autism Center | Orange

This clinic is one of just a handful across the country dedicated solely to diagnosing, managing and treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Evidence-based design strategies, in-depth research and guidance from parents and providers guided all aspects of the design. Our Don Lawrence, a key team member, specifically used his experiences raising his autistic son to create a space that helps autistic children navigate and thrive in the world around them.

Ohlone College, Academic Core | Fremont

Dubbed the new heart of this community college campus, the Academic Core is comprised of a science center with modern labs and prep room, a music and visual arts center, and a learning commons housing study rooms and a library. Together, these buildings support students in obtaining life-sustaining careers, in addition to fulfilling the workforce needs of hundreds of local employers located in the area.

City of Coachella, Public Library | Coachella 

Double the size of its predecessor, this new public library has become a catalyst for completely revitalizing downtown Coachella. In addition to housing books, resources and conference space, it includes a café and a 34,000-square-foot park with a landscaped paseo that is shared with a neighboring senior center.

Inglewood Senior Center | Inglewood

This senior center has been a highly anticipated project for the City of Inglewood for more than 10 years after the previous center closed in 2005. More than just a building, it functions as a “home away from home” that is easily identifiable, creates a sense of place in the community, and reinvigorates a key part of the city. It houses multipurpose rooms, kitchen and dining facilities, lounges, a computer lab, outdoor patios and special rooms for billiards, exercise and music.

Atlassian’s New Workplace | Mountain View 

Focused on human authenticity, this modern workplace introduces amenity spaces that exude inclusivity and acceptance, and work settings that promote choice and flexibility. Interior Design magazine highlighted an example of how the company’s focus on accessibility and inclusion is apparent immediately, with a welcoming desk equally accommodating to those in a wheelchair or afoot. “Atlassian has one of the richest—extremely inclusive and diverse—cultures I’ve ever experienced,” our Michael Bonomo said.

Other recently completed projects include UC San Diego Health’s Jacobs Medical Center, Incipio’s new world headquarters, the Robinson Park Recreation Center in Pasadena, Showtime’s West Coast headquarters and more.

This article originally appeared on CannonDesign’s websiteCannonDesign is a CFE Media content partner.