Cabrillo Community College Allied Health Buildings

Aptos, California | civic & academic, science & health

A hearty dose of cross-disciplinary interaction invigorates learning at this Allied Health complex. The design maximizes a tight budget and a tight space.

Cabrillo Community College’s Allied Health program turns out high-demand dental hygiene, medical assistant, nursing, and radiologic technology graduates. To equip its students with real-world skills, the college wanted its new Allied Health complex to feature the latest in instructional technology, including a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab and viewing theater, advanced imaging technology for the Radiologic Technology department, 16 dental hygiene stations, and five dental X-ray stations.

Two main factors drove the design of the complex. First, the budget was very limited, so one of the challenges was to find creative ways to add value to the design. Second, the footprint was tight for the desired instructional program, but the college also wanted interaction space to promote inter-disciplinary collaboration.

RMW’s design addresses both challenges with simple solutions. The two buildings are long and embrace a narrow courtyard. This allows an efficient layout for the instructional program while creating outdoor space activated for collaboration. The campus’s Stroke and Disability Learning Center and Health and Wellness Center are located in one 21,000-square-foot single-story building, while the adjacent 37,000-square-foot two-story building houses the Allied Health department. Interior study and lounge spaces, circulation areas, and outdoor “rooms” are stocked with amenities, technology, and furniture so that students in different programs can gather to work together, study, or just take a break.

The design features economical materials such as vinyl composition tile, with a strong focus on shifts in color and pattern. Large windows with high-performance glass allow lots of light into the interior.

Quick Facts

Due to building envelope design as well as climate conditions, air conditioning was not needed.

The Allied Health complex has incredible ocean views, including those from classrooms. To keep student attention focused on the instructor, rooms were laid out so that instructors face the views.

Large yellow, orange, and red glass panels create a play of color in the two-story north-facing lobby curtain wall.