Kaiser Moves Closer to Small, Smart Hospital Design of the Future

Kaiser Moves Closer to Small, Smart Hospital Design of the Future

For healthcare architects and computer chip engineers from Aditazz Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif., the ideal small, smart and sustainable hospital features multifunctional clinical spaces within, and an array of design elements that bring the best of the outdoor environment to the people inside.

That includes green walls, terraces and an innovative roof design that helps absorb energy from the sun, collect rain water and enable occupants to make the most of natural light.

Here is a picture of Aditazz's "“Crossing Boundaries" design concept:

A design team for Gresham Smith and Partners of Nashville, Tenn., envisions adaptable rooms as well as patient gardens at its carbon-neutral hospital.

The intelligent facility also would include interactive, touch-screen whiteboards on interior walls that would allow patients to tap into their doctors' notes and download them to personal electronic devices.

Here is a picture of the Gresham Smith and Partners' concept:

A team from San Francisco engineering firm Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch worked with architects for its concept of a hospital that features regenerative design and is intended to blur the lines that often separate healthcare facilities from the communities they serve.

Immediately below is a photo of the Mazzetti team's concept:

Those proposals brought the three teams to the final round in Kaiser Permanente's "Small Hospital, Big Idea" design competition. Kaiser named the finalists yesterday.

The contest winner, to be announced in November, will be eligible to contract with the healthcare organization to design the hospital.

In launching the contest last March (here is the GreenBiz.com article on the competition), Kaiser urged would-be participants to shatter the mold for traditional hospitals.

The healthcare organization, which serves almost 9 million people, wants to build a facility that is smaller than typical hospitals, more efficient in delivering medical services and treads so lightly on the environment that it has a "near-zero" impact. And in calling for entries, Kaiser said the winning concept will accomplish all of that without compromising the quality of patient care.

Kaiser received 108 proposals filled with ideas.

"I was astounded at the amazing creativity and the high level of thinking of all the people who submitted ideas," said John Kouletsis, Kaiser's executive director of strategy and design and a judge for the competition. "People put their hearts and souls into this. The content was so phenomenally rich."

Of the submittals, 78 went on for further review, and of those, nine were chosen to go before a 10-judge panel. The panel convened in San Diego for two days last week to hear the presentations, and the three finalists emerged from that group.

The contenders will now connect with doctors, nurses and others from Kaiser in order to "touch base with reality before fleshing out their concepts," Kouletsis said. The hospital Kaiser envisions would be located on about 30 acres in Southern California. Translating their proposals into feasible designs will be the big challenge for the finalists, said Kouletsis.

The teams will be compensated as much as $750,000 to develop and submit their final proposals by late October, then present them to judges in early November.

Image Credits: Photo of a Kaiser facility in Downey, Calif., and renderings of concepts by design contest finalists courtesy of the healthcare organization.