Advancing Equine Health through Design

Equine Performance Center

University of California, Davis

Ranked #1 in the world, the veterinary medicine program at UC Davis plays a vital role in California’s equine industry. SRG was hired to help transform the University’s new large animal hospital for the School of Veterinary Medicine as part of a first phase in a long-term plan called “Leading the Way.” The Equine Performance Center (EPC) is focused on Sports Medicine, Equine Medicine, and Imaging departments to better detect, treat and improve performance through clinical research.


41,646 sf


Davis, CA

Year Complete


Designing for Optimum Functional Flow

The EPC is organized around effective and efficient flow of patients, staff and material. SRG completed the Detailed Project Program for this project, working intensively with the end users and campus Design & Construction Management to determine the functional needs and desired flow between spaces, including the many exterior areas providing clinical support. The project features a 140-foot by 70-foot open-air, covered riding arena that is used for diagnostics; a Gait Analysis Lab that incorporates multiple force plates; and motion capture technology for objective evaluation of movement characteristics critical to horse performance and lameness assessment. The facility will also incorporate advanced imaging including digital radiography, standing MRI, and a planned mobile CT suite that avoids anesthetizing of horses to reduce risk.

Designing to the Building Context

The architectural character emanates from the forms and materials present in the existing veterinary complex to promote a unified aesthetic for the hospital facilities. Concrete masonry, exposed steel structure, metal panels and glazing are all incorporated in the proposed design. The proposed gable roof, overhanging eaves and covered walkways echo the campus context, with protecting glazing shielding pedestrian circulation from the hot sun of Davis. Louvered and stainless steel woven mesh sunscreens are also employed for shading. The design thus maintains a contemporary aesthetic while directly responding to the context of other nearby agricultural buildings.

Designing for Sustainability

Daylighting and energy conservation are key building performance factors for the UC Davis campus, a national leader in sustainability. The riding arena received close attention due to its sheer volume and the importance of conducting clinical work even during the hot summer months. SRG studied optional configurations of daylighting via clerestories and skylights along with strategies for solar control, using software programs Rhino, Grasshopper, Sefaira, and Diva to arrive at an optimal solution. The large arena roof is planned for a heating water solar collector array that will generate the hot water needed to heat the building and connect to a district system shared with other buildings.

We also completed preliminary design of Phase 2 for this project, which will focus on Surgery and Critical Care functions. It is the first major project resulting from the 2014 master planning SRG completed for the Veterinary Medical Center, which encompassed all clinical operations of the small and large animal hospital complex. The new facility will replace crowded and aging facilities in the existing William B. Pritchard Hospital, allowing the existing building to be renovated in concert with a major addition expanding the size and capabilities of the Small Animal Hospital.