At Mascari Warner Architects, we understand that for a business to truly be innovative and responsive to the clients’ needs, there must be a shift from simply producing a service to creating an environment, evoking a feeling, and inspiring those who interact with it. From healthcare to commercial, offices to residential, we beautifully combine function with form from the inside out.

UCSD Hillcrest Medical Center – Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Expansion


The phased 6,000 square foot remodel and expansion of the existing Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) creates a naturally calming place for surgery prep patients as well as for patients to awake after surgery. Conceptually, this “awakening” is accomplished through the architectural and interior design elements, as well as incorporating natural light through windows.

The objective of the project was to create more pre and post surgery bays within the existing space, which was accomplished in part through a “swing bed” concept. A custom art glass window separates the pre-surgery area from the PACU area. Nurses are able to view patients in both areas. At the same time, recovering patients are unable to be distracted by activity in the nearby pre-surgery room, due to strategically placed textures in the glass design. This ability for nurses to view both areas also allows the facility to “swing” from pre-surgery to post-op, and vice versa, accommodating the flow of patients throughout the day.

The renovation increased the number of recovery / pre-operative beds from 8 to 19, and provided 3 Stage II recovery recliners. The renovation was completed in two phases to allow for continued operation of the existing PACU.

Another part to this project was the redesign of the hospital’s eastern building facade. Previously, the elevation was completely flat without articulation. A curtain wall and a sculptural steel mesh screen structure were added to allow controlled light to enter the PACU, define the existing emergency department’s main entry, and energize the hospital’s image.

Project Highlights

  • 6,000 SF remodel
  • 19 recovery/pre-operative beds
  • 3 Stage II recovery recliners
  • Phased construction


  • World Architecture News, 2010
  • Healthcare Design, 2004


San Diego, California

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