A Case Study of Tangram Interiors’ Biophilic Design and Collaborative Spaces at the University of California Irvine

Transforming Health Sciences Education


In 2023, the University of California Irvine (UC Irvine) approached Tangram Interiors with a vision for creating a state-of-the-art Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences Building and Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing & Health Sciences Hall. This facility was set to span 205,000 square feet and consolidate various health science programs under one roof, including the schools of nursing, medicine, pharmacy, and public health as well as the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.


UC Irvine embarked on this journey alongside contractor HDDCO and architecture firm HED with a clear purpose: to establish a national model for integrative health focused education. The primary objectives included the…

  • Integration of Health Science Programs: UC Irvine sought to consolidate various health science programs into a single facility. This aimed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and prepare students for the complexities of modern healthcare practice.
  • Promotion of Integrative, Whole- Person Health: UC Irvine envisioned a learning environment that not only imparted medical knowledge but also emphasized the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. The incorporation of biophilic design elements and access to natural spaces aimed to enhance the overall well-being of students, staff, and faculty.
  • Enhancement of Learning Outcomes: By creating dedicated learning spaces that encourage engagement and interaction, UC Irvine aimed to transcend traditional educational methods and prepare students for real-world healthcare challenges.
  • Creation of a Collaborative Environment: UC Irvine envisioned the new facility as a hub for collaboration and innovation. By bringing together students, faculty, and practitioners from different healthcare disciplines, the project aimed to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue and knowledge exchange.
  • Demonstration of Sustainability Leadership: As part of its commitment to sustainability, UC Irvine pursued LEED Platinum certification for the new facility to minimize the environmental impact of the building.

The Solution:

Tangram Interiors approached this project with a “holistic” perspective, strategically providing furniture to improve students’ learning outcomes and support their health and wellness.

In partnership with HED, Tangram also helped contribute to spaces that incorporated biophilic elements with access to beautiful outdoor spaces, nature, and natural daylight. The objective was to create a building that was as educational as it was nurturing and efficient.


Over the course of the design project, Tangram provided furniture for entry, administrative, classroom, lounge, and lab spaces that lean into the dedication to wellness and hands-on learning.

“The furniture encourages students and faculty to engage with the space and one another in a way that brings lectures to life, making healthcare tangible, holistic, and experiential,” says Kimberly Wiggs, Tangram Director of Education.

The new UC Irvine building also features an ambulatory clinic, teaching labs, a simulation center, and a dedicated student lounge space with access to beautiful outdoor spaces, community spaces, and natural elements.

These elements come together to improve students’ learning outcomes while also supporting their health and wellness and interaction between disciplines.


The Susan & Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences Building and the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing & Health Sciences Hall at the University of California, Irvine exemplifies a commitment to innovative healthcare education through biophilic design and collaborative learning spaces. Tangram Interiors’ partnership was a critical element of the design process, providing furniture solutions that support wellness and hands-on learning. Kimberly and her team are proud to have contributed to the success of this transformative project, shaping the future of healthcare education at UC Irvine.