vista sunrise apartments

Designing a Healthier Tomorrow

DAP Health's campus expansion is creating a more familial environment for both patients and clinicians.

Lawrence Karol Current PSL, Health & Wellness, Sponsored

vista sunrise apartments
Housing is Health Care: DAP Health and CVHC broke ground Feb. 24 on the 61-unit special needs affordable housing unit known as Sunrise Vista II on its Palm Springs campus.  

Even if you’ve never watched a home renovation television show you've most likely heard the familiar design refrain about “bringing the outdoors inside.” But it's a concept very few people associate with the often impersonal environment of many health care facilities. That's just one of the numerous reasons why the ongoing redesign and expansion of DAP Health's 13-acre campus is so unique.

“One of the cornerstones of our designs is bringing nature inside and blurring the line between outdoor and indoor to welcome the idea of hope and health,” says Maria Song, a partner at the Palm Springs-based Interactive Design Corporation (IDC), the architectural firm overseeing the expansion.

This integral connection between design and health outcomes has been the focus of DAP Health‘s approach since its founding in 1984. The internationally-known interior designer Steve Chase, who succumbed to AIDS in 1994, was involved with the design of DAP Health's original facility as well as the social service wing and main hallways of their current location.


“Everybody reacts to their physical environment,” says David Brinkman, DAP Health‘s CEO. “And it's our job when we work with designers to grow our facility, or to modernize portions of our facility, to be very thoughtful about how design can help soothe people's nerves and help people feel welcomed who traditionally have felt unwelcome in health care settings.”

A major component of DAP Health‘s campus expansion is a new pavilion that will connect the original building with their medical facility. “The new pavilion provides an architectural language which connects the history of the campus,” says Song. DAP Health's original building was midcentury modern in style, ”so what we‘re trying to do with our pavilion addition is bring back some of the recognizable midcentury modern organizations of glass, and openings, and simple shapes.” Another important part of IDC's design is a landscape park that will surround the pavilion creating urban parks.

All of these improvements are being made possible by a capital campaign during which generous members of the community donated $13.5 million. With that funding, DAP Health was able to build two primary care clinics, a clinic for sexual wellness, and the Marc Byrd Behavioral Health Clinic. They also acquired land for Vista Sunrise II, a new affordable housing facility, and were able to purchase the building that will house two more primary care clinics. ”We have $10M left to raise,” notes Brinkman. “When we achieve our goal, we’ll be able to move from serving 10,000 to 25,000 people annually.”

Like the other buildings that are part of the campus expansion, Vista Sunrise II aspires to provide future residents with healthier living spaces. “We always create affordable housing with design flairs,” says Song. “We avoid the ‘big box’ designs that would dishearten residents by appearing to lack thought and consideration.”

This progressive spirit has been central to DAP Health‘s mission since its founding almost 40 years ago. The campus expansion is building upon that legacy and Steve Chase‘s desire to make theoriginal facility's interior feel more intimate. “His goal was to make DAP welcoming,” says Brinkman. “And reflect our belief that all people who entrust us with their care, regardless of their financial situation, should receive excellent care in surroundings that are clean, safe, and modern and reflect our values of inclusivity, inventiveness, and conscientiousness.”

To get involved and learn more about Vision Forward, DAP’s Health campaign to care for 25,000 people, contact James Lindquist at [email protected].

• READ NEXT: DAP Health Will Serve More in the Desert With Vision Forward Campaign.