Eye-Catching New Ocular Institute Debuts at UC Davis

By Eric Althoff

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A contracting team led by McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has successfully completed the Ernest E. Tschannen Eye Institute Building at the University of California, Davis in Northern California.

Working with Vanir Construction Management and architects HGA and TEF, McCarthy worked under a design-build contract on the new institute, which is located nearby Davis in the capital city of Sacramento. The teams also expanded UC Davis’s Ambulatory Care Center as a part of the project for the university.

The Ernest E. Tschannen Eye Institute Building entails 78,500 square feet that will be a boon to the university’s existing medical use and instruction space. According to information released by McCarthy, one of the consultants on the project was Chris Downey, a designer who lost his sight in 2008 and has since worked to help the vision-impaired in his work. Downey’s input was crucial to the layout envisioned by HGA and TEF as the design evolved.

The Tschannen institute consolidates all of UC Davis Health Eye Center’s under one roof, with specialties devoted to optometry and ophthalmology, clinical research and training. The facility also features departmental offices and student areas.

The architectural design for the eye center is meant to be welcoming and pleasing to the beholder. Building materials at the base entail nature-toned exterior substances that are offset by a folding, clear-glass curtain wall that is meant to present a warm feeling as students, clinicians, patients and visitors cross into the facility’s multi-story glass entryway.

The interior features a circulatory wayfinding route that runs the length of the building. Clinic waiting and reception areas are all located off of this main thoroughfare, which connects the medical use area in the new building with renovated areas in the older facility.

“Bringing UC Davis Health Eye Center’s new facilities to life has truly been a fulfilling experience for all of the consultants involved,” Greg Osecheck, HGA’s principal-in-charge, said in a recent release. “From day one, we knew the spaces we were creating had the potential to dramatically improve the lives of clinicians, patients and vision scientists alike, and it was an honor to work closely with all of our project partners to ensure their usefulness long into the future. We’re hopeful that the new Ernest E. Tschannen Eye Building and its supporting spaces will give rise to some of medicine’s most transformational eye care solutions.”

Added Alyosha Verzhbinsky, TEF’s principal-in-charge: “Working with the medical leadership of the Eye Center was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my professional life.”

In an email sent to School Construction News, Ian McQuoid, senior vice president of operations at McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., said that the Ernest T. Tschannen Eye Institute at UC Davis will ultimately better the community as well as the university itself.

“The new building will not only enable the Ophthalmology Department at UC Davis Medical Center’s Sacramento campus to achieve patient care excellence and improve the patient experience, but it will also increase operational efficiency for UC Davis Health,” said McQuoid.

The team at Ernest E. Tschannen Eye Institute Building is aiming for LEED Gold certification of the building.