rendering of large multifamily development


Negotiating the challenges of designing a state-of-the-art 260,000 SF, six-story ambulatory outpatient center and a 1,700-car parking structure in a fast-growing residential neighborhood—with some historical gentrification challenges, is not for the faint of heart.

During this session, HDR’s team behind the Virginia Hospital Center will unwrap a challenging but successful 14-month journey that included the community, client, and state and local authorities as stakeholders to deliver an essential healthcare facility for the community of Arlington, VA.

Presenters will share the processes, tools, and methods they utilized to bring each of these stakeholders to the table and create a collaborative design process to ensure that all voices were heard.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the radical measures the team deemed necessary to allow the design project to be a “good neighbor” to the community
  • Describe how to utilize the inclusive design approach to engage all stakeholders with different backgrounds in the design process
  • Identify successful strategies for negotiating evolving county and city approval processes
  • Discern the lessons learned and how the process could be improved for future to ensure community engagement, mitigation of gentrification, and good patient outcomes while designing a largescale healthcare facility

Presented by:

Hamed Aali, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CDT

Senior Project Designer, HDR

As a senior project designer with HDR, Hamed has worked on a wide range of projects around the globe. His work is primarily focused on health, wellness, and space improvement to provide a more efficient, resilient, and healthier built environment for the users. His previous experiences with civic, hospitality, and commercial projects give him a broad perspective to apply to healthcare projects, in which he emphasizes elevating the overall experience for patients, families, and caregivers. By engaging in all steps of the design process, from client engagement and initial design studies through construction document phases, he helps the stakeholders to achieve the project vision and goals within the budget and time constraints.


Susana Erpestad, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC

VP, Director of Federal Architecture Programs, HDR

Based out of HDR's Arlington, Virginia studio, Susana leads the firm's global federal architecture practice and is responsible for operating and growing it, as well as for elevating and promoting our federal brand across all architectural market sectors. She's well-regarded throughout the industry for her expertise and technical acumen. As Director of Federal Architecture Programs, she continually strives to improve collaboration and delivery as we develop bold projects and ideas for federal clients around the world. Since first joining us in 2010, Susana has grown within the company, gaining extensive experience leading teams, fostering client engagement, delivering complex projects, mentoring staff, and increasing market share.


Dennis Vonasek, AIA, ACHA, CID, ASHE

Health Principal, HDR

Dennis is a hands-on Principal and a leader of HDR's Mid-Atlantic healthcare team. He is a Board-Certified Healthcare Architect. In his 30-year career, he has a proven track of diverse-leadership experience as a principal, project manager, medical planner, and designer. Denis builds mutual understanding between platers in the design process and providers, and provides exceptional leadership to enable the balance of budget and design. He has spent his career devoted to healthcare and has collaborated with a wide range of clients both domestically and internationally, from large academic medical centers to small community clinics. 

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