SmithGroup promotes Polhamus and Chung at San Francisco office

SmithGroup, one of the nation’s leading architecture, engineering and planning firms, has promoted Joyce Polhamus to office director and Heather Chung to Health Studio leader at the firm’s San Francisco office.

Joyce Polhamus, FAIA, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, is a 19-year veteran of the firm who most recently served as the office’s Health Studio leader. In her new role as director of the 200-person office, she will focus on further diversification, development and retention of staff, while continuing to reinforce SmithGroup’s reputation for design excellence. Polhamus succeeds Bill Diefenbach, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, who transitions back to practice in the office’s Workplace and Science & Technology Studios.

Promoted to assume Polhamus’ former role of Health Studio leader is Heather Chung, Assoc. AIA, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C. Chung had led the office’s Health Planning Studio since 2012. Now overseeing the 90-person Health Studio – combining healthcare architecture and planning professionals – Chung will direct the planning and design process for a wide-range of hospitals, outpatient clinics, wellness centers, senior living and other post-acute care facilities.

“Our healthcare design and planning work in the Bay Area has been one of our biggest success stories,” said Russ Sykes, PE, LEED AP, SmithGroup managing partner. “While continuing our leadership in the healthcare market, we look forward to increasing our activity with higher education and workplace clients,” Sykes added.

Polhamus is an internationally-recognized specialist in design for the aging, having led the office’s Health Interiors and Senior Living Studio for more than a decade, serving clients in the U.S. and abroad. She is a strong proponent for utilizing alternative delivery methods, including Integrated Project Delivery (IPD). Her experience has shown that collaborating and integrating people, systems, business structures and practices into a project’s design process leads to a greater return-on-investment for owners. IPD is the delivery method being used on SmithGroup’s two large hospital projects in San Francisco for Sutter Health and California Pacific Medical Center: the 13-story, 998,000-square-foot, 301-bed hospital at the Van Ness and Geary campus; and the new St. Luke’s Hospital, a 215,000-square-foot, 120-bed acute care facility at Caesar Chavez and Valencia streets. Both projects are currently under construction and scheduled for completion in 2019. 

In May 2015, Polhamus was inducted into the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows, the highest honor bestowed upon an architect and an acknowledgement of her significant contributions and achievements within the design profession. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture.

Chung has specialized in strategic planning and healthcare design for nearly 20 years. She is a LEED certified planner and received evidence-based design accreditation and certification from The Center for Health Design. Her passion is using design and design thinking to create the most intelligent and appropriate responses to the healthcare industry’s needs and aspirations. Her drive for a holistic understanding of the factors that shape the healthcare environment has informed her planning and programming work for healthcare providers and institutions, including Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center, UCSF Mission Bay Medical Center, Banner Health, Kaiser Permanente and Huntington Memorial Hospital. Chung’s international experience includes programming and preliminary design services for the 775,000-square-foot Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, a national center of excellence providing comprehensive care and surgical needs to patients in New Delhi, India. 

As a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Chung earned a bachelor of arts in architecture and a bachelor of arts in economics. She also possesses a Master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in strategy and entrepreneurism from the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined SmithGroup in 2005.

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