Rapidly expanding from their existing space, Direct Relief needed a new headquarters to help them keep up with an increasing demand.

The non-profit firm based in Santa Barbara, CA provides Medical Disaster Relief Material to hard-hit communities worldwide. They run the largest charitable medicines program in the United States and are also among the world’s largest providers of humanitarian medical aid.

To help the organization keep up with their increasing global demand, ATI provided architectural services for Direct Relief’s new 159,000 sf Headquarters and Distribution facility.

The new facility was built to meet heightened federal requirements related to secure storage and distribution of prescription medications. It is also nearly four times the size of Direct Relief’s previous facility and is equipped with state-of-the-art distribution technology for supplies.

The new facility features 122,000 sf of warehouse space and 3,400 sf cold storage. This is a 7000% increase to their former cold chain capacity.

The cold storage room, essentially a 36°F refrigerator, can cool 300 pallets.  Just 30 pallets alone are enough insulin to treat 15,000 children with type 1 diabetes for a year.

Photo Source : Direct Relief (Laure Cooper/Direct Relief)

In addition to its warehouse space, the new facility boasts a 34,000 sf 2-story office that includes several large assembly spaces to accommodate their large contingent of dedicated volunteers who help support the organization by packing relief supplies, staffing events, and contributing to various business operations.

To keep things moving even during a crisis, Direct Relief teamed up with Tesla to equip the facility with a microgrid system with integrated battery storage and generators. Prior to this, the organization only had a generator, which gave them about a week supply of power if they faced an emergency. With the new microgrid system, the organization can now stretch from a week of supply to six months.

With the increased space and new technology, Direct Relief will not only be larger but more efficient and productive in its efforts.

“Building this facility was the largest project in Direct Relief’s 70-year history, so we are pleased that the campaign exceeded its goal, was concluded early, and that the project itself was completed on time and on budget,” said Thomas Tighe, President and Chief Officer of Direct Relief.


About ATI

ATI is an architectural and engineering services firm specializing in Institutional, Industrial, Commercial, and Civic projects, but that is only the beginning of our story.

In 1989, ATI’s Founding Principals envisioned the development of a full-service design and construction services company, specifically focused on completing projects better and faster than the rest of the market place. The organization was built to focus on developing right solutions, with a budget driven approach, and being a team with our clients at every step of the way. Today, ATI is recognized as one of the most dynamic full service A/E firms in California.

As a full service A/E and construction services firm, ATI routinely provides a wide range of services from feasibility studies, master planning, and programming, complete design and engineering, and construction support services.  The synergy of our multi-disciplinary firm results in effectiveness and efficiency.


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