SmithGroup’s Joyce Polhamus Elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading architecture, engineering and planning firms, is pleased to announce that Joyce Polhamus, leader of the firm’s San Francisco Health Studio, has been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows. 

The recognition reflects her significant contributions to architecture and society and achievement of a standard of excellence in the profession. Polhamus was one of 147 new fellows recognized at an investiture ceremony at the 2015 National AIA Convention and Design Exposition held May 14-16, 2015 in Atlanta.

In her role as leader of the firm’s Health Studio in San Francisco, Polhamus directs the planning and design process for projects of all sizes including new and renovated hospitals, outpatient clinics, wellness centers, and senior living facilities. Among the studio’s current projects are two new hospitals for Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco: a 12-story, 730,000-square-foot hospital at the Van Ness and Geary campus; and the new St. Luke’s Hospital, a 215-square-foot, 219-bed acute care facility at Caesar Chavez and Valencia streets. Both projects are under construction and scheduled for completion in 2019. Other projects include the Kaiser Permanente Dublin Medical Center Specialty Medical Office Building and Radiation/ Oncology Center, to be constructed in the Tri-Valley area of Alameda County, California. 

Polhamus is an internationally-recognized specialist in design for the aging, praised for her commitment to providing quality design services for senior environments and solutions to support leading-edge programs and services for the aging. Her significant senior living portfolio includes the recently completed 20,164-square-meter, 21-story Zhongshan Park Continuing Care Retirement Community, a pioneering, high-rise completed in early 2015 in Shanghai, China for Vcanland Senior Living Group. In the U.S., Polhamus is leading a SmithGroupJJR project named The Trousdale, a 150,000-square-foot, 124-unit assisted living and memory care facility now under construction in Burlingame, California for Peninsula Healthcare District. 

In addition to leading SmithGroup health projects in northern California and beyond, Polhamus writes and speaks prolifically and works with multiple organizations to improve assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care environments. She has been involved for nearly a decade with the American Institute of Architect’s Design for Aging Knowledge Community, serving as chairperson in 2012 and 2013. Other professional affiliations include Society for the Advancement of Gerontological Environments, California Assisted Living Association, American Society on Aging, American Senior Housing Association and LeadingAge, an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old. Polhamus also served on the Care Delivery and Design Improvement Committee of LeadingAge California.

Polhamus is a LEED accredited professional by the U.S. Green Building Council and received evidence-based design accreditation and certification from The Center for Health Design. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.

About The American Institute of Architects’ Fellowship Program

AIA’s Fellowship program was developed to elevate architects who have made significant contributions to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.  AIA’s membership totals over 83,000, with only 3,100 distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship. Founded in 1857, AIA works to create more valuable, healthy, secure and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods and communities. Visit

For more information about SmithGroup, please visit our Company Fact Sheet.