Advancing Medicine at USC

The USC Health Science Campus is a giant in the world of healthcare.

One of the newest additions to their campus is the USC Norris Healthcare Center. It’s just one part of a 25 year master plan to address the vision and potential needs of the future of the community. Made possible by the Norris Foundation, a non-profit who has been contributing financially to USC medicine for decades, and the architects at HKS, this new facility balances cutting edge care with the patient’s quality of life during treatment. 

Cancer is something that has touched the lives of practically everyone I know. With that said, I was honored to photograph this new space while also learning so much about the major advancements being made to improve patient’s lives while we move closer and closer to a cure.

Designing Healing Health Spaces

This new facility can handle 100,000 visits annually, which brings the foundation’s goal, making cancer a disease of the past, closer to reality. USC Norris Healthcare Center now houses the USC Institute of Urology, cancer and non-cancer infusion centers, women’s specialty care, and the USC Transplant Institute – to name a few.

I am well aware that comfortable chairs and pleasant views do not cure cancer, but the reality of on-going cancer treatment means that patients spend a lot of their time in this building. USC and HKS have prioritized the patient experience, and it shows: with social, welcoming spaces for chemotherapy and lots of windows to let in the SoCal sunshine, this space can boost moods and change outlooks rather quickly.

Working with the Architects

“We Are One” – HKS Architects‘s motto encompasses collaboration, experience and trust.

As the architects of this project, HKS has a lot in common with the values held by USC Medical Center, which makes their teamwork on this project a perfect fit. On our 2 day shoot, the 1st day was all about interiors and the 2nd focused on exteriors. I love shooting multi-day projects, as I am able to really appreciate each and every corner of the space. HKS’ lead interior designer and lead architect collaborated with me on our shots, and brought along fellow colleagues from their office to be in the photographs. That’s collaboration at it’s finest!

A Day In The Life

On opening day of a brand new hospital, it’s very possible to imagine that not everything will go as planned.

Before they opened, USC Norris Heathcare Center saw the importance of figuring out issues ahead of time. So, they took part in a “day in the life” simulation that helped them discover the kinks and hiccups of their brand new facility before patients arrived. Check out this video showing behind the scenes of the “Day in the Life” simulation.

Experts In Their Field 

To further the focus on the patient experience, HKS prioritizing organic building materials and incorporation of natural elements for their interiors. With wood accents, bright open windows framing mountain-filled horizons, and even pressed flowers in glass dividers, each space felt serene and far from gloomy.

As an architectural photographer based in Southern California, I will admit that I see a lot of beautiful vistas surrounding thoughtful design. This center, however, is one of the best examples of balancing outdoor and indoor elements that you’ll find deep in the heart of East Los Angeles.

Want a little more insight into how HKS creates amazing Healthcare facilities? According to Healthcare Design Magazine, you’ll find that they follow these nine steps.


Very often when I shoot in urban settings, there are other buildings in the way of a shot I need to get. So, one of my go-to solutions for the obstacle? Get right to the top of things! In this case, shooting from the roof of The Cafe allowed me to have a great bird’s eye view and keep the building out of the shot. That’s a win/win!

Searching Out Great Eats!

Discovering the best places to eat while I’m on location

“Life’s a fiesta, so wear bright colors, eat great food & dance the night away!”

What a motto! Casa Fina reflects this fun and lively atmosphere within the Boyle Heights community. After a long day of photography, or in this case 2 days, everyone on the team deserves to relax and have a hearty meal! Just a short drive from the USC Norris Healthcare Center, this restaurant and cantina has a bright purple facade you can’t miss.

Who’s up for some fajitas and margaritas!?

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