Emergency, hospital expansion blends latest design, function with sustainability
Location: 401 Bicentennial Way, Santa Rosa
Owner: Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa
Description: 146,400-square-foot expansion of hospital’s North Wing
Completion: October 2010
Architect: Jason Brabo, TLCD Architecture, Santa Rosa
General contractor: HMH Builders Inc., Sacramento
Project cost: $233 million
[caption id="attachment_27993" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="The new tower (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
SANTA ROSA -- Kaiser Medical Center Santa Rosa’s newly opened hospital wing blends the latest in medical technology and environmentally sustainable, health-conscious building materials with architectural design elements that are proven to promote healing. If that sounds like something straight out of a hospital marketing brochure, there’s actually hard data to back it up.
In the same way that health care providers rely on evidence-based medicine derived from patient results to inform clinical decision making, evidence-based design draws upon scientific research about the connection between physical surroundings and patient outcomes. The approach is gaining popularity in health care architecture in an effort to improve patient and staff well-being, speed the patient healing process, reduce stress and increase safety – all of which help contain health care costs.
It’s only one of the many carefully thought out and executed aspects of Kaiser Santa Rosa’s recently completed $233 million expansion project.
“The hospital expansion was designed and constructed to be a comfortable and reassuring environment with state-of-the-art medical technology, efficient layout and close patient/medical staff relationships,” said Jason Brabo of TLCD Architecture in Santa Rosa. “Through every step of planning, design and construction, the needs of patients, their health care providers and the community were the priority.”
Mr. Brabo was part of a project team that included representatives from Kaiser and HMH Builders Inc., a Sacramento–based general contractor. Using the “design-assist” method, the team worked through the expansion project’s design, construction and cost issues collaboratively ahead of actual construction activity to minimize change orders and manage costs.
[caption id="attachment_27994" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="One of the new operating rooms (click to enlarge)"][/caption]
The project team met with staff members of 34 different hospital departments numerous times to elicit their input and involve them in the decision-making process. Evidence-based design encompasses considerations that blend function, access and visual appeal, such as orienting all patient rooms to be in close proximity to distributed nursing stations rather than a single centralized one, installing operable windows in patient rooms to allow outside airflow and selecting interior materials and colors to evoke a warmer, more home-like environment. Kaiser even brought in a consulting firm to work with employee groups on selecting contextually appropriate artwork, paintings and photos created by local artists.
“Evidenced-based design quantifies and measures a design’s performance,” explained Mr. Brabo, who is TLCD’s health care practice leader. “Research reveals there a lot of things that can improve healing. Visual connection to the outside world really does work. So do more home-like surroundings. Making people feel more comfortable in the hospital reduces their stress and helps them heal faster.”