Case Studies

Fong & Chan Architects

Extraordinary Design that Continuously Exceeds Expectations

Prior to establishing Fong & Chan Architects (FCA) in 1982, David G. Fong and Chiu Lin Tse-Chan interviewed for an expansive project. The San Francisco International Airport’s master plan/programming/conceptual design of the South Terminal (Terminal One) and passenger boarding gates A, B and C entailed an approximate 1 million-square-foot area at an estimated construction cost of $150 million.

Howard Friedman, special consultant in charge of architect selection for the San Francisco International airport, was both a professor of architecture and chairman of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California in Berkeley; he had already interviewed many well-established architecture firms, so David and Chiu Lin believed their chances were slim.

Establishing a Name

Much to the surprise of David and Chiu Lin, the pair successfully landed the sizable project. “It was a daunting task for any firm to undertake, let alone a firm comprised of only two individuals,” David says.

Completing the multimillion-dollar project compelled David and Chiu Lin to quickly forge the four founding principles of FCA. “No. 1. create excellent architecture, No. 2. serve the clients well, No. 3. give back to the community and No. 4. elevate the status of the architect in society,” David continues.

FCA has worked to uphold the company’s founding principles for more than three decades, while also ensuring exceptional design and extreme attention to detail. “Even after over 30 years in business, all of our projects have come in on schedule and within budget,” David continues. “Our architect and engineer change order rate has varied from zero to 2.8 percent throughout the history of the firm.”

Today, FCA remains headquartered in San Francisco, but the firm’s trusted reputation is widespread. However, FCA does not have a marketing department. Therefore, the firm maintains a low profile, with the majority of new work coming from repeat clients and/or client referrals. Nonetheless, the company has completed projects in the Pacific Rim, including China, Korea and the Philippines to name a few locations. “We foresee more international work in the future,” David says proudly.

Clients seek out FCA’s expertise due to the firm’s excellent reputation for successfully executing and completing complex and challenging projects. FCA’s projects have included hospitals, airports, museums, laboratories, university buildings, senior housing and nursing facilities, all of which involve significant infrastructure.

FCA is currently in the midst of completing the 500,000-square-foot San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center with a set completion date of mid-2015. “The funding for the facility was possible through one of the largest bond measures ever passed in the San Francisco Bay Area at $887 million,” David explains. “The new facility is nine stories tall, has 284 patient beds and is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.”

“The new hospital will provide a humanistic, culturally rich and healing environment for the community. The building design incorporates and promotes leading practices in patient comfort, cost effective construction, efficient hospital operations and sustainable design. As this hospital will be the only trauma center in the city, the structural design incorporates a base-isolated foundation to ensure its continued operation after a major seismic event.” – FCA’s website reads.

Design Opportunities

No matter what the job entails, FCA manages to consistently go above and beyond, adding value to even the most demanding projects. FCA has completed numerous projects under budget and has used the savings to add significant project amenities, benefiting the client. “At the University of California San Francisco [UCSF] Medical Center in Fresno, the project was designed and ultimately completed well under budget,” explains David. “This allowed us to propose and consequently include an outdoor amphitheater and seating area with the savings.”

David and Chiu Lin are proud of how for the company has come. “For all our accomplishments, we believe that FCA has only just started to do the work that we set out to achieve when the firm was established years ago,” David explains. “We look forward to pushing the architectural envelope, and taking the firm to even greater heights in the years to come.”

FCA never misses an opportunity for good design, and continually strives to astonish clients with extraordinary and unique project features. According to David, he particularly relishes clients’ reactions when seeing a completed project. “We cherish that moment,” he states. For over three decades, Fong & Chan Architects has delivered impressive architectural design and tangible value to both clients and the community.

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Summer I 2017

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