The UC Davis Medical Center Parking Structure III is a 6-level, 400,000 square foot parking structure that services the parking needs of patients and visitors of the UC Davis Medical Center Facility, a major academic health center in California. The UCD Medical Center, voted among America’s top 50 hospitals, is where patients are sent for advanced care and in which new treatment guidelines are used and often pioneered. When the campus was in need of more parking spaces, administrators wanted a structure befitting of the hospital and its reputation, with a strong and professional appearance.
While other parking garages are often treated as utilitarian buildings and are hidden behind the main facility, the UCD III parking structure sits at the front of the UCD Medical Center Facility. Given its location, administrators wanted the structure to act as a highly visible “front door”, while blending in with the existing campus architectural style. The front and center location of the parking structure was intended to alleviate any uncertainty regarding where to park upon arrival at the hospital, as is oftentimes the case with other hospital facilities.
Precast Exhibits Aesthetic Versatility
By working with the precaster early on in the design phase, the architect was able to ensure continuity of the architectural style with the existing medical campus buildings. As a result, the building’s exterior features an integrally colored white architectural finish on the structural precast columns and spandrels, matching the incorporating architectural accents with the precast panels. The architect noted that beauty of working with precast concrete is the precision that can be specified. Dimensions can be planned as tightly as needed by the architect with confidence knowing all components will fit together. Reveals were added to the spandrels alongside thin, horizontal openings to emphasize the horizontal nature of the parking structure. Metal panels, mesh, and aluminum louvers were attached to the precast concrete façades facing the street, while the east and north sides without the street traffic feature traditional precast concrete panels. The louvers were designed with considerations for nearby traffic, each angled differently to pick up lighting from passing headlights, creating an image of movement from one set of louvers to the next as cars pass. The close working relationship between the precaster and Architect resulted in stunning integrated architectural features that add a beautiful finishing touch to the new parking structure.
The project fulfills the University of California Policy on Sustainable Practices and incorporates energy efficiency and sustainable features including a photovoltaic power system and electric vehicle charging stations. The PV system provides 145 kW of power to the main hospital. The end result is a parking structure strategically located adjacent to the hospital that provides optimal access for patients and visitors, all while showcasing the functionality and aesthetic versatility of precast concrete.
The Safety and Serviceability of Precast
Designers chose a precast concrete structural solution to meet their needs for the 1,200-car structure. The structure features the latest in seismic design by incorporating the Precast Hybrid Moment Frame for seismic resistance. The use of the frame obviates the need for shear walls, helping create more wide-open (shear wall-free) interiors. In the event of a major seismic occurrence, a system like the Precast Hybrid Moment Frame is ideal for essential service structures such as hospitals, police stations and fire stations, as they are needed in-tact and immediately serviceable due to the life-saving services they provide. This selfrighting system chosen for the UCD III parking structure is not only cost-effective, but
adds substantially to the safety and overall experience of the hospital’s patients and
patrons. The architect noted the decision to use the precast hybrid moment frame was critical given the high-seismic area of the structure.
Efficient Production Delivers Project on Time
The Parking structure’s location represented challenges during erection. Narrow streets were also problematic, as well as its location along two heavily trafficked streets that intersect at an acute angle, creating a pentagonal-shaped footprint. Access to the site was an erection challenge. With no staging area, and the first level being below grade on 3 of the four sides of the building presented challenges, but work-arounds and solutions to those challenges ensured a beautiful structure was completed on time.