University of California Davis Health Parking Structure 4 – Sacramento, CA

Demand for parking at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Health Campus exceeded capacity on the Sacramento property. Additional development would further reduce available parking, so it was critical to design and construct a parking structure to meet the future needs of the campus. The solution was Parking Structure 4, a new five-level, employee permit parking facility.

Like a Good Neighbor

Parking Structure 4 is adjacent to a residential neighborhood, which influenced many aspects of the design, says Ginger Thompson, project designer with Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture. The design-build team was challenged with creating a structure that would minimize noise and light spillage and meet the design aesthetic.

“A lot of attention and intention was paid to how we treated the elevation that faced the residences. Folded scrim panels were used to obscure car headlights around the ramps and downplay the mass of the structure,” says Thompson. To address residential concerns, the team-oriented vehicular flow to the south, which reduces noise and light pollution. Horizontal louvers further control light spillage and provide privacy. The design-build team continues to work to adjust the light trespass so that it meets the anticipated levels appropriate for the neighborhood.

Once employees park their vehicles, they can take advantage of shuttles, bike shelters, or walking paths across campus. Thompson points out that special attention was paid to separating pedestrians from vehicular traffic and providing safe connections to the hospital.

According to Steve Voss, project executive for Clark Pacific, it was important to take advantage of the limited noise a precast concrete project generates. “Even though the medical campus is active around the clock, our work was restricted from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., in respect to the adjacent neighborhood,” he says.

The impact of precast installation is limited to truck traffic and the crane for just a short duration. Despite the time constraints, the precast concrete was installed in record time.


With the added benefit of prior collaboration on projects, onboarding the new client with an old team was accomplished quickly. While the owner had previously used precast concrete, they were not familiar with a total–precast concrete system. After the team reviewed the distinctive up-front schedule and the importance of communication, the project moved forward quickly.

Collaboration was key. “Precast is a fantastic product. It gives us so much architectural and design flexibility,” says Thompson. “I would attribute the project’s success to how effective the team was. There was a high level of communication, respect, trust, and collaboration, not just the main players, but across the board. It was a very creative and collaborative effort every step of the way, which is evident in the results.”


With Clark Pacific serving two roles as design-builder and precast concrete producer, challenges were anticipated and handled quickly and efficiently. “Having Clark Pacific in both roles smoothed out the whole process,” says Thompson. “They already understand how to design and manufacture precast, and as the general contractor, they kept the job moving forward.”

The integration of manufacturer and contractor perspectives paid off with minimal disruption to the medical campus. “The lighter that we can tread by minimizing trip traffic and removing labor on-site, the better,” Voss adds.

Speed and nimbleness were key to overcoming not just the constraints of working within a medical campus, but the urban setting and neighborhood restrictions. “They all lent themselves to getting in and out as quickly as possible,” says Voss. The 1200-space parking structure was completed in just 14 months, with precast concrete installation limited to 65 days.

Campus Context

The campus’ aesthetics, integral color, and formliners throughout the precast concrete elements provide textures and tones. The scrim panels and louvers also emulate the architecture of other buildings on campus.

The architectural precast concrete finishes include a light, warm tan color. The hybrid moment frame system is structurally and architecturally appealing. “We like the strong rhythm of the columns and we added a thicker formliner for a horizontal projection of two inches. It gives nice contrast and the ability to add depth and to move away from a flat façade,” says Thompson.

Parking Guide

Color-coded signage allows users to easily find stairs and elevators. No matter where you stand in the parking structure, everything is white except the exit lobbies, which are doused in way-finding colors specific to each level. An angled paint technique on the ramp columns ties the users into the space.

Taking advantage of the precast concrete system, the design uses a shorter spandrel beam to create larger openings. This increases the daylight entering the structure but still blocks the headlights. The well-lit structure provides passive security for health-care workers using the facility.

The design team selected a parking guidance system that combines way finding and lighting. ECO Falcon cameras detect available spaces, and the wireless guidance system shows the number of available stalls on each level. Then the light fixture illuminates the status of the space through bright LEDs on smart sensors.

Prefab Elevator

To embrace the spirit of off-site manufacturing, Clark Pacific used prefabricated elevator towers. “We purchased the prefabricated framed shafts and coordinated with a local elevator subcontractor to bring in cars that were preinstalled,” says Voss. The shrink-wrapped elevator modules were stood up with a crane. Always looking to advance prefabrication, this could have been done in precast concrete, but would have been an extremely heavy lift. “This was the best fit for the client.”

EV Charging Stations

The California Building Standards Commission requires a minimum of 10% electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at new, nonresidential sites, with plans to increase the amount of EV-capable (infrastructure only) stalls from 10% to 20% of the total parking count.

The electrification of new parking structures and greater accommodation of EVs is not inexpensive. While precast concrete systems can readily provide the infrastructure for this electrification, there is a significant upgrade to the electrical capacity of the structure.

The new employee permit parking facility is built for future photo voltaic arrays on the roof and the project team is pursuing Parksmart Silver—a U.S. Green Building Council sustainability rating program
specifically for parking structures.

This article was originally printed in the Summer 2022 issue of Ascent Magazine.

University of California Davis Health Parking Structure 4
Location: Sacramento, California
Designer: Dreyfuss & Blackford Architecture, Sacramento, CA
Owner: University of California Davis Health, Sacramento, CA
Engineer: Watry, San Jose, CA
Contractor: Clark Pacific, West Sacramento, CA
PCI-Certified Precast Concrete Producer: Clark Pacific, West Sacramento, CA
Precast Concrete Components: Double-Tees and Hybrid Moment Frame