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Sudhakar uPVC Windows and Doors

Jacobs Medical Centre, San Diego, United States

By: Ar. Akhila Pillai & Ar. Baghya Venkataramani, Cannon Design

This 10-storey hospital functions as three medical speciality centres— housing inpatient services for high-risk obstetrics and neonatal care, cancer care and advanced surgical care. The building’s overall curvilinear form was driven by the design of the patient units in conjunction with advanced modelling to capitalise on views, maximise daylight, minimise solar gain and glare.

Building exterior
Building Exterior

The geometry creates a continuous flowing curve of the exterior—a dynamic form with beautiful proportions that changes as one passes around the building’s perimeter. Elevated gardens and terraces are integrated into the exterior, bringing nature up to the patient floor level. In addition, the façade is further articulated by a series of horizontal and vertical projections, which serve as shading devices. The interplay of these projections along with the varying floor plates breaks down the building mass, making it less intimidating.

With the intent of creating a homogeneous envelope while still achieving screening, thermal performance and daylighting where required, a white ceramic frit pattern was extensively used on the unitised glazing system. To disguise the spandrel areas, the frit pattern is denser and gradually transitions into the ultra-clear glass at the eyeline. This gradation in the glazing translucency is a defining quality of the entire façade and invokes a sense of serenity.

Maximising views of nature was a critical design consideration since this has been shown to improve the healing process. The floor-to-ceiling vision glazing is a low iron, low-E, solar control glass providing panoramic views of adjacent hills and oceans.

The low iron attribute imparts a higher level of clarity and transparency to the glazing, so as not to add a green tint to the pure white ceramic frit. The insulating glazing units have a laminated outside lite with the frit on the exterior and the Low-E coating on the back of the laminated lite within the airspace.

In-patient room interior view
In-patient room interior view
Conceptual sketch by Mehrdad Yazdani
Conceptual sketch by Mehrdad Yazdani

The laminated layer allowed for the frit and the Low-E coating to be located on separate pieces of glass, which improved the procurement and fabrication process. This careful attention to detail, fabrication and execution resulted in this remarkable high-performance façade.


  • Prieto. A(2021). What Makes a Façade Beautiful? publication/352903041_What_Makes_a_ Facade_Beautiful_Architects%27_ Perspectives_on_the_Main_Aspects_ That_Inform_Aesthetic_Preferences_in_ Facade_Design
  • Helmy P. Rethinking The Future. case-studies/a8480-jacobs-medical-Centre-by-cannon design/
  • Vitro Architectural Glass. Glass Helps Provide Patients with a Natural, Soothing Environment. Architect Magazine design/buildings/glass-helps-provide-patients-with-a-natural-soothing-environment

Ar. Akhila Pillai & Ar. Baghya Venkataramani, Cannon Design


Akhila Pillai & Baghya Venkataramani are avid design and technology enthusiasts, working with the Mumbai office of Cannon Design. Cannon Design is a global integrated design solutions firm focused on helping people continuously flourish through the ‘Living-Centered Design’ approach. This article is a culmination of a series of interviews with Joe O’Neill, John Reed, Demosthenis Simatos, and Natasha Luthra, leaders from Cannon Design, supplemented with research and perspectives from the authors. Akhila is an architect with more than a decade worth of diverse experience ranging from design and project management of hospitality, residential and commercial projects to establishing workflows on BIM platforms. A post graduate in Environmental Architecture, she is a huge proponent of data-driven design. Baghya is an architect with nine years of experience in the residential, education and industrial sectors. She did her Master’s in Advanced Architecture from IAAC, Barcelona. Co-contributor: Raunak Mohapatra is currently pursuing his internship with CannonDesign and loves engaging with various forms of ‘art for people’

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