Project category: New construction (completed October 2006)

Chief administrator: Robert M. Pearl, MD, CEO (Northern California), (408) 851-2000

Firm: Chong Partners Architecture, (415) 433-0120

Design team: Architect, Chong Partners Architecture; Strategic Development, Kaiser Permanente National Facilities Services; General Contractor, Rudolph & Sletten; Structural Engineer, Buehler & Buehler; Mechanical Engineer, R&A Engineering; Electrical Engineer, Silverman & Light

Photography: David Wakely

Total building area (sq. ft.): 75,300

Construction cost/sq. ft.: Not released

Total construction cost (excluding land): Not released

Designers worked within a tight budget and a limited material palette to create vibrant spaces with an abundance of natural light and a colorful and effective wayfinding scheme. The facility provides space for 32 doctors and a staff of 140. Services include primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, ophthalmology, optometry, optical sales, physical therapy, radiology, clinical lab, and pharmacy.

The likelihood that elderly Kaiser Permanente members would use the facility suggested a need to clearly identify departments. A kit of parts was applied to all departments and includes a soffit light treatment, built-out wall elements, and repetitive signage and color. With the aging population in mind, the project team developed an intuitive wayfinding system that helps patients navigate the facility with ease and prevents confusion between key departmental reception areas and building amenities or nonpublic spaces.

To achieve interior flexibility, the building is organized with entrances and stairs at each end of generously proportioned corridors, which accommodate those in wheelchairs or with walkers. Waiting areas are fully open to the corridor. Overhead skylights above the second floor infuse light into public spaces at the heart of the building, filtering through corridors and light wells down to the first floor.

Designs borrow earthy colors from nearby oaks and the surrounding golden browns of the low, grassy hills. The building exterior incorporates a masonry skin and overhead canopies that offer weather protection at entrances. The interior uses the same earthen colors, becoming the last step in a sensitive transition from outdoors to indoors.