North Coastal Health and Human Services Facility

The County of San Diego North Coastal Live Well Health Center Building is a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) facility inspired by the local natural resources it’s designed to protect. 

The County of San Diego North Coastal Live Well Health Center Building is a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) facility inspired by the local natural resources it’s designed to protect. 

Oceanside, CA
County of San Diego
Year Completed
$10M - $50M
LEED Platinum
Market Type

Balfour Beatty and HMC Architects provided design-build services to deliver the new North Coastal Health and Human Services Agency Building. Scope of work included demolishing the North Coastal Regional Center built in 1957 and Public Health Center built in 1958, and to co-locate programs and services in the new three-story office building, containing approximately 45,000 net square feet of usable area at the Mission and Barnes site. The new North Coastal HHSA Facility houses Aging & Independence Services, Military and Veterans Resource Center, Community Health Promotions, Regional Administration, Public Health Services and Behavioral Health Services.

The new facility utilizes low impact development standards and uses sustainable design principles, practices and performance. The architecture, engineering, landscaping and building systems were designed for efficiency and ease of maintenance. The facility, which has already achieved LEED Platinum Certification, is the only ZNE project listed in California that is a County-owned medical office.

Presented with a limited budget and fast-tracked schedule, the project team utilized a highly collaborative method to innovate and achieve every goal of the The North Coastal Live Well Health Center project. Every inch of the facility from the interior to the exterior was designed to promote the health of the environment and the community that surrounds it for generations to come.


The team captured the “local heritage” with elements that reflect and exemplify the unique character of Oceanside, California. Furthermore, the team felt the identity needed to speak to a sense of “pride” for the staff. A place that nourishes this feeling within the staff that reflects encouragement and a beacon of hope to customers receiving care within the facility.

With a strong corner presence on a busy local avenue the County wanted to exemplify their dignity but not look too governmental. The design team took cues from the County’s previous buildings yet accentuated the sustainable and pushed the awareness of well-being to the forefront. Elements that serve functional purposes are featured in the design. Graceful sail-like pieces are placed on the façade to shield direct sunlight and diffuse indirect light into the space. The orientation of the buildings encourages natural light distribution to all floors within the structure.


Throughout the space, the team encouraged a safe and calm environment utilizing trauma informed design approaches.  When a facility is trauma informed, it:

  • Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;

  • Recognizes the signs and symptoms in clients, families, staff, and others involved; and

  • Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.

The team developed “placemaking,” the idea of establishing a sense of destination for wellness in and of itself by creating a safe and welcoming environment.

The interior tells a coastal story using natural warm wood tones resembling driftwood and vibrant wall colors and flooring to represent local flora. Vertical Tefl on-coated fiberglass shade sails protect the naturally ventilated lobby and glass from solar heat gain, while operable windows throughout the building summon ocean breezes. Outside, high-efficiency photovoltaic arrays power the facility. Narrow wings and large windows maximize daylight, while integrated shading devices reduce glare. The landscape design consists of three main elements:

  1. Native plant material reminiscent of the nearby coastal bluff landscapes;
  2. A subsurface drip irrigation to encourage water conservation; and
  3. ​Several low rock arroyos to retain and safely direct site water into a series of onsite retention basins.