Placer County Health & Human Services Center

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Placer County Health & Human Services Center

Auburn, CA

The 148,000 square foot Health and Human Services Center, the first Zero Net Energy building in Placer County, was designed to create a transformational experiential environment, enhancing the existing campus, and providing a positive impact on all that visit and work at the facility. AC Martin responded to the client’s desire to present a building to the community that is welcoming and responsive to the budget, but not overdone or extravagant. We took this desire to heart and developed an appropriately scaled building with a clearly marked entry, that reinforces the vision of the client. 

In addition to designing a project that is both functional and affordable, we looked for meaning to reinforce the client’s vision. The entry to the building is important functionally and symbolically. A bridge is an appropriate metaphor for the project, particularly at the front door as it represents the idea that the clientele will be crossing the bridge to better things. In addition, a landscape bioswale along the public entry showcases sustainable practices while intersecting the bridge at the front door. A gentle rise of the pathway reinforces the idea of crossing at threshold, causing one to pause briefly to observe the natural elements on either side.

The overall organization of the building is informed by sensitivity to public interface, clarity of circulation, maximizing daylight, promoting cross divisional collaboration and future flexibility. The open Lobby space provides a clear view of the reception desk with visible signage directing one to the assortment of waiting areas. Designed to be intuitive and non-institutional in its expression, it is welcoming, warm, safe, and reinforces inclusivity.