Take one part futuristic style, mix it with one part retro style, blend in pure fun, and what do you get? For Dr. Tom Greek, you’ve found the perfect recipe for a stylish veterinary facility that reflects his personality as well as his practice philosophy.
“I’ve never been a white lab coat and tie kind of veterinarian,” he says. “Hawaiian shirts and the relaxed feeling they evoke are more the attitude I prefer. A hospital doesn’t have to be stuffy, sterile, and cold to maintain a professional appearance and atmosphere.”
Indeed, the practice is far from stuffy and sterile but maintains professionalism. For example, staff members and doctors alike wear bowling style shirts, embroidered with their names, in every color of the rainbow.
Dr. Greek’s vision for his Yorba Linda, Calif., practice translated to a 6,251-square-foot building full of the bells and whistles he needed, as well as plenty of extra room to grow in the future. That’s part of the reason the 2010 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition judges chose the practice as a Merit Award winner, with one judge calling it the “best contemporary architecture I’ve seen so far.”
CELEBRATING GOOGIE STYLE
Growing up in Southern California, Dr. Greek logged many hours at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, a themed area in the park featuring views of what the future could hold. Those visits to the park, among other things, inspired Dr. Greek’s love of Googie architecture. Googie architecture originated in the late 1940s, and mixes modern and futuristic styles. The architectural genre is influenced by post-World War II Southern California car culture and the space and atomic ages. The Googie style features upswept roofs, geometric shapes, and a strong use of glass, steel, and neon, as well as boomerang and parabola shapes.
These vintage designs, coupled with 1960s retro styles, most influenced Dr. Greek’s idea for his start-up practice. “Think Jetsons meet 1960s car culture, and that’s what you get,” he says.
“I love that when you first walk in, not only are you greeted by a Sputnick light fixture and a kidney bean-shaped drop down ceiling, you see many geometric angles and a big reception desk that looks like it belongs in a ‘Jetsons’ cartoon episode,” Dr Greek says. “I used orange Eames fiberglass chairs in the reception area and cartoon cells and old movie posters featuring animals in our exam rooms. Many people have commented on how ‘homey’ our hospital is. I’m guessing it’s because of the warm colors.”
CRUISING INTO OWNERSHIP
While Dr. Greek is thrilled with the results of his first practice, he does note that it took him a long time to get to this point. After many years of associateship—and two failed attempts to buy in to practices—he finally made the call to go it alone. “I always knew I wanted to be an owner, and it has been a lot of work getting here,” he says.
It took just over two years from when he started plans for the facility to when he opened the doors—but only six months for the actual construction. “I hit a lot of delays along the way, including finding a good location that I could afford and getting permits and city approvals—that seemed to take forever,” he says. “For the city, postponing a planning commission meeting for a month for holiday vacation was normal; for me, it was another bump in the road.”
Dr. Greek credits his architect with helping pave the way with the city, as well as for helping design a facility that suits his practice needs. “My architect knows the quirks of designing for a veterinary facility, all the ins and outs of how big exam rooms need to be, how much space you need around a surgery table to be comfortable, and so on,” he says. “Those little details a veterinary architect brings can make all the difference in being comfortable in your space.”
While the building process lingered on a while, Dr. Greek wouldn’t change a thing. “Not a day goes by that a client doesn’t make a comment about how nice the practice is,” he says. “I enjoyed taking that extra step to make Greek and Associates Veterinary Hospital a warm, comfortable, happy place that’s unique for our clients and patients.”
Greek & Associates Veterinary Hospital
23687 Via Del Rio
Yorba Linda, CA 92887
Owner: Dr. Tom Greek
Hospital team: 3 full time, 1 part time
Practice type: Small animal and exotics
Building size: 6,251 square feet
Exam rooms: 4
Parking spaces: 18 client and staff
Construction: $1.3 million (building only; excludes land purchase, landscaping, parking lot, etc.)
Site improvement: $650,000
Professional fees: $60,000
Year built: 2008
Richard Rauh, AIA
Rauhaus Freedenfeld & Associates
23101 Moulton Parkway #106
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
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