Good Samaritan Cancer Center, Puyallup, Washingon

The American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) has announced that James R. Diaz, FAIA, FACHA, is the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Hamilton’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on an architect by the College. It is conferred by the national ACHA Board of Regents in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of healthcare architecture.


James R. Diaz earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with Honors from Princeton University in 1961 and his Master of Architecture with AIA-Medal from Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1965.

Jim Diaz and KMD Architects founder Herb McLaughlin in the late 1960s

Jim Diaz and KMD Architects founder Herb McLaughlin in the late 1960s

Immediately upon completing his Master of Architecture studies, Jim began his career as a healthcare architect while on active military duty in Washington D.C. After a one-year residence in Houston, he joined the San Francisco firm Kaplan McLaughlin in 1968. During his 48 years with the firm, his contributions as a principal and owner since 1977 in planning and design helped bring Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz (KMD) Architects to international prominence for innovation and design excellence.

 

Mr. Diaz led innovative planning and design in 1969 with the first triangular nursing unit and ability to replace bed towers sequentially at St. Mark’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT, and with an expandable prototype for horizontal campuses at St. Vincent Medical Center, Santa Fe, NM, 1974.

Mr. Diaz led innovative planning and design in 1969 with the first triangular nursing unit and ability to replace bed towers sequentially at St. Mark’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT, and with an expandable prototype for horizontal campuses at St. Vincent Medical Center, Santa Fe, NM, 1974.

Jim has been generous with his time and long taken leadership positions in professional associations, including ACHA, as the 2016 chairman of the Council of Fellows, and the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health. Early in his career he spearheaded the move to create the “Open AIA Committee Structure” that we enjoy today.

CHA Women and Children's Hospital, Seoul, South Korea. Under the direction of Jim Diaz, KMD participated in the introduction of American Planning and Design Concepts abroad, adjusted to compliment international cultural patterns.

CHA Women and Children's Hospital, Seoul, South Korea. Under the direction of Jim Diaz, KMD participated in the introduction of American Planning and Design Concepts abroad, adjusted to compliment international cultural patterns.

Jim has ably represented the American Institute of Architects internationally for many years. He is invited to speak and participate in symposia in many international venues to present his long and varied experience in healthcare design research, innovation and design excellence. At a local and state level in California, he is a leader within Spanish and Hispanic communities and has been honored for his contributions by the Government of Spain. His outside activities and professional contributions have also made him an effective spokesperson for the AIA among Spanish-speaking associations of architects and communities in Latin America and Spain.

Al Amal Behavioral Health Hospital, Dubai, (pictured). Jim Diaz is responsible for introducing the concept of open nursing units in Prototypical Mental Health Centers, a departure from older hospitals based upon long corridors stringing out patient bedrooms. The first Post-Occupancy Evaluation by independent evaluators at Marin General Hospital was an early precursor to today’s Evidence Based Design. As the Chair of the AIA Subcommittee on Programming and Design, Jim Diaz strongly supported and participated in preparing the first edition of planning guidelines for mental health, subsequently integrated into the AIA and FGI publications.

Al Amal Behavioral Health Hospital, Dubai, (pictured). Jim Diaz is responsible for introducing the concept of open nursing units in Prototypical Mental Health Centers, a departure from older hospitals based upon long corridors stringing out patient bedrooms. The first Post-Occupancy Evaluation by independent evaluators at Marin General Hospital was an early precursor to today’s Evidence Based Design. As the Chair of the AIA Subcommittee on Programming and Design, Jim Diaz strongly supported and participated in preparing the first edition of planning guidelines for mental health, subsequently integrated into the AIA and FGI publications.

He and his wife have instilled in their children a love of architecture and things Spanish. He is extremely proud that his daughter Lari Maria Diaz is following in his footsteps as a well-established healthcare architect.

Jim and daughter Lari Maria Diaz.

Jim and daughter Lari Maria Diaz.

Jim is one of the over 440 colleagues in the United States and Canada who are certified healthcare architects. ACHA requires its certificate holders to work towards the improvement of healthcare architecture on behalf of the public, to practice in an ethical manner to maintain the highest standards in the specialized field of healthcare architecture.

Text comes from ACHA News

For more information on the American College of Healthcare Architects, please visit www.healtharchitects.org.