The San Diego County Women’s Detention Facility was recognized with a merit award in the institutional category from the AIA San Diego Annual Design Awards. The AIA San Diego Annual Design Awards are the ultimate recognition of design achievement for firms and projects in the San Diego region. These awards celebrate the spirit of innovation and creativity found among the practitioners who make San Diego County their home as well as the patrons with the vision to take chances and make design achievement a reality.

HMC’s James Krueger (left) and Steve Prince (right) were in attendance to accept the award on HMC’s behalf.

The Women’s Detention Facility includes 1,216 beds on a 45-acre campus modeled on a community college and facilitates a program intensive-management culture intended to proactively reduce recidivism. This distinctly transformative philosophy inspired the design team to explore principles of choice, change and accountability in the development of an environment that supports rehabilitative opportunities and the safety and security of staff and inmates.

The design is based on what are known to be predictable psychological and physiological responses people have to their environment. The site and building architecture support a culture of expectations; appropriate and respectful behavior; positive change through hard work and responsibility; respectful interaction with other inmates and staff; personal growth from programs; and, ultimately, successful transition back into the community as a productive citizen. Studies show that women socialize differently than men; multi-custody living environments are clustered around exterior courtyards that integrally connect the interior to the exterior spaces to create intimate or group interaction. The program buildings are located in the heart of the “campus core,” which buzzes with activity during the day and evenings. The project is targeting LEED Gold certification and was completed using the design-build delivery model.

Project Team

HMC Architects, Design Architect

KMD Architects, Architect of Record

Balfour Beatty Construction, Contractor