Doctor's Orders — A Day at the Spa

HMC Architects creates a new model for healthcare with the L.A. Center for Women’s Health, a state-of-the-art medical facility that emulates a spa while catering to the needs of working women.

03.01.2013 by Robert Nieminen

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"I love going to the doctor’s office.” Unless you’re a medical provider that loves his or her job, you won’t hear those words from anyone else—especially not patients.

But what if the medical facility where you sought treatment looked and felt more like a spa than a clinic? Although it may not alleviate all of the stress associated with treating physical ailments and diseases, a well-designed healthcare environment that emulates the tranquility of a spa would go a long way in helping patients relax and actually become more proactive about their health.

That was both the goal and the end-result of HMC Architects’ design for the Los Angeles Center for Women’s Health, which has become a new model for the future of women’s healthcare since its opening last year. Created specifically for “HER”—Healing, Education and Research—the building features a calming, restorative environment that responds to the needs of working professionals and residents in downtown Los Angeles.

“The environment itself participates in the healing process by offering a space that’s reminiscent of a calming spa where women go to relax and de-stress,” says Pam Maynard, CID, principal and director of interior architecture at HMC. “We spent a lot of time with potential clients from L.A. and asked them what types of environments they felt would be most comfortable in which to receive medical care. The places that they asked for were places that seemed to be very peaceful,” providing the inspiration for the facility’s spa-like design.

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