Location Los Angeles
Size 460,000 ft²
Completed 2011
Program 317 in-patient beds, emergency room, cardiology clinic, cath-labs, diagnostic radiology, conference center, cafeteria, playground

When Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) drew up plans for a new building in 1999, Liz Cochran wasn’t a part of the original planning process because she wasn’t hired as the associate vice president of construction, design, and facilities until 2008. But she didn’t waste any time putting her stamp on the project. Although the 460,000-square-foot Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion was designed prior to LEED’s inception, the building is a sustainable beacon. Cochran talks about why going green is particularly important in hospital settings and why she’s excited about the hospital’s new Sunset Pedestrian Bridge.

When constructing green buildings the emphasis is clearly on the environment, but does being green take on a new importance in a hospital setting?

Liz Cochran: Aesthetically, it’s more pleasant to be in, and that’s an important factor that can’t be overlooked because this is a children’s hospital. We strive to make our environment less cold; clinically this is important. Sustainable features make the hospital a healthier place for patients, families, and the staff. The Anderson Pavilion has a great deal of natural lighting. Linoleum floors and carpets can typically leave a large percentage of environmental contaminants in the air, but that won’t be an issue with the sustainable flooring we’ve installed. Anytime you can use green materials, it’s healthier, and that’s obviously ideal in a hospital setting.


Client Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Architect ZGF Architects
General Contractor Rudolph & Sletten

How did the Sunset pedestrian bridge come about?

Cochran: Sunset Boulevard is one of the busiest highways for cars in Los Angeles, and it has become very unsafe for pedestrians to cross the street between our campuses, even when using the crosswalk. This is the first pedestrian bridge of its kind in this area. There will be elevators on each end and the actual bridge itself will be three stories above Sunset Boulevard. The bridge will be encased in tempered glass walls, so during the day there’s no energy required, and on particularly hot days, fresh air will be circulated in. The bridge will be done in February 2013.

Not just for toddlers. The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles treats children with complex illnesses from infancy through adulthood, which means Liz Cochran, VP of construction and design, and her team have to create spaces that can be used by everyone—from infants to teens.


Certification Not applicable
Natural Cooling Campus framed by public garden, light colored roof, canopy trees for shade
Materials Forbo Marmoleum, polished concrete (Sunset Pedestrian Bridge), 20% of materials purchased locally
Water On-site storm-water collection via hydrodynamic system
Air Building uses 100% outdoor air
Landscape Features a meditative garden with outdoor connections for IVs
Energy No mechanical heating or cooling used within pedestrian bridge

Tell me more about the Anderson Pavilion’s sustainable features.

Cochran: The primary metal is structural steel, which has about 85 percent recycled content. The acoustic ceiling tile is 69 percent recycled. Storm water is collected on-site using a hydrodynamic system that filters out solids before it releases it into the public storm-water system. Hospitals are not subject to any energy code in the state of California, but one of the major factors with respect to energy use in health care has to do with the air circulation inside the building. The building was designed to use 100 percent outdoor air. This is advantageous because it both prevents the recirculation of contaminants into the building and allows for four levels of air filtration, the final of which is HEPA and charcoal filtration for gas contaminants.

Are these projects just a taste of what’s to come in terms of the hospital’s commitment to sustainability?

Cochran: CHLA is committed to looking for ways make our environment greener with each project, and everything we do is going to be as sustainable as possible. In situations like ours where resources and funds are limited, sustainability may sometimes fall low on the list due to initial costs, but we find ways to utilize green materials as much as possible. This requires passion and awareness of new products and systems. It’s also about communicating the benefits of sustainability and being as green as you can when you’re able to.